QZ8501 Day 5: One passenger identified as Monash student, black box could take a week to be found

At least seven bodies have been recovered from the search area for the wreckage of AirAsia flight QZ8501. 

One of the bodies recovered has been identified as Kevin Alexander Soetjipto. The Malaysian Navy said the Monash University finance student was identified through a wallet found on his body.

Kevin was said to have been a valued student in his University and would have turned 21 today.

Singapore deployed an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to join the search for the missing AirAsia flight.

Heavy seas held back divers waiting to inspect the possible wreck of an AirAsia Indonesia jet off Borneo on Thursday and an aviation official said it could be a week before the black box flight recorders are found.

Five crews among 47 divers were on standby to investigate a large shadow sighted by a search and rescue pilot.

Rescuers believe it may be the Airbus A320-200, which was carrying 162 people when it crashed on Sunday en route from the city of Surabaya to Singapore.

“I am hoping that the latest information is correct and aircraft has been found,” airline boss Tony Fernandes tweeted on Thursday. 

But Toos Sanitiyoso, an air safety investigator with the National Committee for Transportation Safety, said it could take a week to find the black box, suggesting there was still doubt over the plane’s location.

Frogman commander Lieutenant Edi Tirkayasa said the weather was making the operation extra hard.

“What is most difficult is finding the location where the plane fell – checking whether the aircraft is really there,” he told Reuters.

“This is very difficult even with sophisticated equipment. With weather like this, who knows? We are still hopeful and optimistic that they’ll find it. They must.”

Sources: The Straits Times, Detik News, Facebook, Reuters