A search party has found the tail of AirAsia’s crashed jet, with hopes that the black box flight recorders are close by.

The tail was discovered by divers using an underwater sonar scan machine. The machine also helped divers find more debris and an additional 40 bodies from the flight that crashed in the Java Sea on Dec. 28, killing all 162 people on board. According to Reuters:

“We’ve found the tail that has been our main target,” Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of the search and rescue agency, told a news conference in Jakarta. “I can confirm that what we found was the tail part from the pictures,” he said, adding that the team “now is still desperately trying to locate the black box”.

AirAsia’s CEO Tony Fernandes confirmed the news on Twitter. Fernandes has remained heavily active on the social media site. He’s also denied that Flight QZ8501 wasn’t scheduled to take flight the day it crashed.

AirAsia’s German insurer Allianz has confirmed with reporters that payments were distributed to the victims’ families. The amount is currently unknown, but similar incidents have issued an estimated amount of $25,000. Allianz spoke about the payments to reporters on Tuesday.

“These payments are in no way final settlements,” said a spokesman for Allianz, which is the lead reinsurer for the consortium of insurers covering claims in the case. “We will agree further compensation in due course in consultation with all involved parties.”

While Fernandes is hopeful the black box – a device that records cockpit conversation and flight data – will be found, search parties are skeptical, since the jet’s tail was found 30 km away from the crash site. The jet tail is also predicted to be in several pieces.

In Pangkalan Bun, the southern Borneo town closest to the crash site, search and rescue agency coordinator Supriyadi told reporters the bad weather that has dogged the operation for 10 days had abated.

“The black box is located behind the door, to the right of the tail. There is a possibility that the tail and the back of the plane are broken up.”

Investigators have looked into various reasons for the crash, including the possibility that ice may have frozen the engines while the pilot was flying through dangerous weather.

SOURCE: Reuters | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc. 

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