The Wall Street Journal: AirAsia rescuers begin to recover bodies

A team of rescuers began recovering bodies and wreckage from an AirAsia AIRASIA, -0.36%   jet nearly three days after it vanished from radar, kicking off a painstaking effort to determine why the plane crashed.

In the shallow, choppy waters of the Java Sea, southwest of the island of Borneo and about 20 miles from the plane’s last recorded position on radar, Indonesian authorities said searchers found three bodies and remnants of the Airbus A320 that went down Sunday morning.

The plane, carrying 162 people, disappeared without a mayday call less than an hour into its trip, while cruising at normal altitude near a group of intense storm cells en route to Singapore from the Indonesian port city of Surabaya.

Investigators and AirAsia officials stressed it was still too early to draw definitive conclusions about what caused the plane to crash, and it wasn’t clear precisely where the rest of the wreckage was.

But based on preliminary information, some safety experts said the location and relatively concentrated pattern of the wreckage suggests the plane didn’t break apart high in the atmosphere.

That is likely to simplify the recovery of aircraft’s “black boxes,” which will be vital to unlocking what happened during the flight’s final moments. Black boxes contain thousands of measurements of the plane’s performance, including what was said in the cockpit before the crash.

An expanded version of this report appears on – Top Stories

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