Missing AirAsia plane: 'High probability' the tail of flight QZ8501 has been found

The tail could contain the plane's black box recorder, but Indonesia's search and rescue agency has yet to confirm the discovery

There is a “high probability” that a piece of wreckage found by search teams in the Java sea is the missing tail section of a downed AirAsia jet, according to senior people involved in the hunt.

“We found what has a high probability of being the tail of the plane,” Yayan Sofyan, captain of the patrol vessel that made the discovery said.

The Indonesian search and rescue agency has yet to confirm that wreckage found is indeed the plane's tail section, however.

A vigil for victims of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash in Surabaya, Indonesia (Getty)

If the latest discovery is confirmed to be Airbus's tail section, it is likely to contain the aircraft’s black box recorder.

Because of a lack of other evidence regarding the circumstances of the crash, the recorder is believed to be authorities' best hope of finding out what caused the plane to crash into the sea.


Aircraft and sea vessels searching for debris and bodies from flight QZ8501 widened their search area this weekend to allow for ocean currents carrying wreckage further away from the suspected crash site.

It has been eight days since the AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surbaya to the city-state of Singapore crashed into the Java sea with 162 passengers and crew on board.

Indonesian Air Force personnel during a search operation for the victims of the crashed AirAsia plane over the Java Sea, 1 January 2015

Four "large objects" that are believed to be part of the wreckage of AirAsia flight QZ8501 have been detected on the ocean floor, officials said yesterday.

It also emerged this weekend that the plane did not have the authorisation to fly the route it was taking between the two cities on the day it crashed, leading to a suspension of AirAsia services between the two cities.