First attempt to recover crashed AirAsia flight’s fuselage fails after balloons deflate

Balloons carrying the fuselage to the surface deflated and sent the wreckage back to the seabed

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The Independent Online

An attempt to recover the fuselage of the downed AirAsia plane has failed, Indonesian officials have said.

Salvage teams manage to float the fuselage of flight QZ8501 near the surface of the Java Sea using inflatable balloons, but were thwarted in the final stage of the operation after the balloons deflated, sending the plane section back to the ocean’s floor.

Members of the National Search and Rescue Agency carry coffins containing bodies of the victims aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 to transfer to Surabaya at the airport in Pangkalan Bun

Four bodies were recovered in the area during the operation; authorities believe there are many more inside the fuselage.

"We now need additional balloons," Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, the operations chief at the National Search and Rescue Agency, said after the setback.


The fuselage was lifted to about seven metres from the surface, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Divers battling strong currents and poor visibility also recovered six bodies on Friday after they first reached the fuselage section.

Ng Eng Hen said images taken by a remote controlled vehicle showed parts of the crashed AirAsia plane's wing and words on the fuselage

The fuselage of crashed AirAsia plane QZ8501 was found on Wednesday after images of it were taken by a remote controlled vehicle.

The plane’s tail section was recovered last weekend; its two ‘black box’ flight recovered were retrieved on Monday and Tuesday.