Search teams have scored a major find early today upon the discovery of a fuselage of the aircraft that was confirmed to be that of AirAsia.
Aside from the tail that was also discovered over the past week and its subsequent recovery three days later, the recent discovery of the main section of the plane's fuselage would now hasten their effort to locate more debris and, hopefully, more bodies.
Along with the fuselage, the teams also located major finds such as the engine and the wing. A lot of small to medium-size debris also litter in the vicinity of the fuselage.
The search and retrieval operations involve various teams from different countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, US, China, Japan, South Korea ,and India. The whole operations are headed by Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo.
After the recovery of the two flight recorders, full-blown investigation has officially begun and is headed by the country's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC).
The plane departed Surabaya's Juanda International Airport at 5:35AM, Sunday, December 28 and was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 8:30AM on its almost 3-hour journey.
After more than half an hour into its flight, the pilot requested the ground controllers to allow him to ascend to 38,000 feet from its current altitude at 32,000 feet. The pilot cited bad weather as the reason for his request to climb to a higher altitude.
However, the ground controllers could not immediately grant his request citing heavy traffic at 38,000 feet until 2 minutes later.
The two-minute delay, however, proved to be fatal as the ground controllers lost contact with the plane and subsequently disappeared from the radar screen within three minutes.
In less than 40 minutes later, the plane was declared missing and frantic search began.
The plane was carrying 162 people on board including the 7 crew members, two of whom were pilots. Most of the passengers and crew were Indonesian nationals. The foreign nationals on board were three South Koreans, a Malaysian, the French co-pilot, a Singaporean, and a British.
There have been 50 bodies recovered so far after more than two weeks of search operations.