Fuselage of AirAsia plane may not be raised

Wreckage breaks apart during failed attempt to raise it

The fuselage of the AirAsia plane that crashed into the Java Sea on December 28 may be too fragile for lifting to the surface, the Indonesian armed forces are saying.

Rear Admiral Widodo, head of the navy’s western fleet who is in charge of the operation, made the comments to the BBC after the wreckage broke apart during a failed attempt to raise it from the seabed. Ropes that had been carrying the fuselage snapped, apparently cut by the sharp edges of the plane’s emergency door.

A further four bodies were recovered during the weekend, bringing the total to 69, with more thought to be inside the fuselage. A preliminary report on the crash is expected to be filed next week, but a full investigation will take months.

Rescuers have been trying to raise the 13-metre plane wreckage from the seabed using inflatable balloon bags capable of lifting up to 10 tonnes. The operation has been hampered by poor weather and difficult sea conditions.

Divers who have been able to reach the wreckage described how dark it was inside, with seats floating about and wires “like tangled yarn”, the BBC reported.

TTG Digital / BBC