Fuselage & Cockpit Recorder Of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Has Been Located

Just over three weeks after it disappeared into the Java Sea, the fuselage of AirAsia flight QZ8501 has been located. Photos posted to Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen's Facebook page on Wednesday confirm that the wreckage, photographed by a search robot, belongs to the downed flight. The main body of the aircraft is believed to contain the bulk of the still-missing bodies of the victims.

Earlier Wednesday, searchers found the cockpit recorder of the plane. The other blackbox, which contains the data recording of the plane, has already been sent to Jakarta to be studied. The two boxes could prove to be vital information in piecing together what caused the crash.

Writing on the wings of the plane confirmed that the wreckage belonged to the AirAsia flight. According to Ng's Facebook, the fuselage was found just over a half mile from where the tail was recovered last week. The fuselage was first detected by a navy ship, at which point search teams sent in a remotely operated vehicle to get visual confirmation that it belonged to the flight.

Locating the fuselage has been a top priority in the search as many grieving families still lack closure after the tragedy. Teams have recovered 48 of the bodies, less than a third of the 162 passengers who were on board at the time of the crash. Ng highlighted the importance of the team's latest discovery in a Facebook post.

The accident is a tragic event resulting in the loss of many lives. I hope that with the fuselage located, some form of closure can come to the families of the victims to ease their grief.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes confirmed the pictures' validity on Twitter.

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Chief, Bambang Soelistyo, said that the fuselage might have been spotted Tuesday, but that they were waiting on confirmation. It is unclear if the bodies of victims are inside of the fuselage, but divers will begin searching and hopefully recovering victims on Thursday. If it is too difficult for divers to reach the wreckage, teams may try and lift the fuselage out of the water.

Images: Facebook/Ng Eng Hen