Jakarta: In what appears to be a significant finding, an Indonesian Navy patrol vessel says it has stumbled upon what it says looks like the crashed plane Air Asia Flight QZ8501's tail section.
According to a Reuters report, an Indonesian Navy vessel's captain said that his ship has found the plain's tail - the crucial part of the plane which contains "black boxes", or flight data recorders.
"We found what has a high probability of being the tail of the plane," the Reuters quoted Yayan Sofyan, captain of the patrol vessel as saying. However the search and rescue agency of Indonesia is yet to confirm the finding.
The finding came as the search entered its second week today with dozens of divers battling bad weather and racing against time to scour Java Sea for the crucial black boxes.
Meanwhile, a fresh report has emerged that suggests that AirAsia Flight 8501 was not licensed to fly on the Surabaya-to-Singapore route on Sunday - the day it crashed with 162 people on board.
According to a CNN report, the airline had the license to fly the above mentioned route four days a week but not on Sunday.
Indonesia AirAsia flights between Surabaya and Singapore have been suspended and the Ministry of Transport has announced a full investigation into the matter. the probe will also check other airlines operating in the country to make sure they were complying with license agreements, the CNN report added.
Meanwhile, the AirAsia search that entered its second week today and the divers strived to take full advantage of calmer waters and fished out 3 more bodies. The bodies were found in the same area where other wreckage items of the plane were found, said reports.
Indonesian search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo said that the search area was widened as with each passing day, there was an increasing possibility of tides sweeping the bodies and wreckage pieced further afield.
The multinational search has roped in nearly 30 ships as well as six planes and 14 helicopters.
So far, a total of 37 bodies and five large objects believed to be the plane wreckage have been retrieved from the Java Sea.
Despite bad weather, divers managed to fish out four more bodies out of the search area in the Java Sea on Sunday. Also a fifth large object, measuring 9.8 metres by 1.1 metres, was located on the seabed, search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo said yesterday.
BASARNAS said the searchers also recovered other debris pieces such as the emergency exit window, luggage, passenger seats and survival kits, which are believed to be from the aircraft. The remains were transported to Surabaya yesterday night for identification.
Nine remains have been identified by the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) while remaining await identification.
Earlier on Saturday, the search team, with the help of sonar, had found four large pieces of debris, the largest of them being 18 metres long.
Bad weather, which was said to have caused the crash, continues to play spoilsport with the search mission as even yesterday high waves hampered efforts to hunt for more bodies and "black boxes", or flight data recorders.
The divers tried to survey more of the seabed but "visibility at the sea bottom was zero," Soelistyo said yesterday.
"We are racing with time and weather in running this mission," the BBC quoted National Search and Rescue deputy chief Tatang Zainudin as saying.
A pinger locator was deployed yesterday to find the black boxes so as to determine the cause of the fatal crash, however no pings have been heard yet.
Indonesian weather agency BKMG in a report has attributed “bad weather” to be the triggering factor behind the plane crash.
"Based on the available data received on the location of the aircraft's last contact, the weather was the triggering factor behind the accident," said the report.
"The most probable weather phenomenon was icing which can cause engine damage due to a cooling process. This is just one of the possibilities that occurred based on the analysis of existing meteorological data," it said.
The ill-fated Flight 8501 that went off radars just after 42 minutes of taking off, was flying to Singapore from Surabaya with 162 passengers.
Of 162 people on board the plane, there were 137 adult passengers, 17 children and one infant, along with two pilots and five crew. Majority of them were Indonesians.
The plane's pilot, Captain Iriyanto, had made a request to climb to 38,000 ft to avoid stormy clouds, however the permission was not granted as there was another plane in that route.
There was no communication from the plane after that.