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Russian team optimistic of finding AirAsia black boxes

Jakarta, January 3: A senior Russian official said here on Saturday that the equipment and personnel it has deployed in search of the wreckage and black boxes of the crashed AirAsia jetliner would be "very much" capable of carrying out the mission.

"The plane can detect even the small icons of wreckage in water and the bottom of the sea. We are quite optimistic regarding the goal of our mission," Xinhua quoted Alexander Shilin, Russian deputy chief of mission, as saying at a press conference after the landing of a Beriev Be–200 plane at an air base in Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan province.

He added the divers and experts taking part in the search operation had excellent and vast experience in search missions.

The Russia mission included 22 divers and 17 search experts, Shilin said, adding the Be–200 amphibious plane also brought a remotely–operated submersible vehicle that could operate in a maximum depth of 300 meters.

"The submersible is equipped with special sor and acoustic system that can detect beacon of the black boxes," he said.

"Finding the black boxes is our main goal here. We will provide as much help as we can."

Russia joined an Indonesia–led search operation for the crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501 by sending two planes, the Be–200 amphibious and an Ilyushin Il–76, on Thursday.

On the seventh day after Flight QZ8501 crashed in the Java Sea on Sunday, the search operation is now focused on locating the black boxes of the Airbus A320–200.

The Indonesian team had detected a large shadow of the possible wreckage of the plane Friday near the Bay of Kumai off Central Kalimantan.

The debris and victims’ bodies from the ill–fated plane were spotted by an Indonesian plane on Tuesday.

Flight QZ8501 with 162 passengers and crew on board went down in the Indonesian waters in bad weather soon after it took off from Surabaya in Indonesia’s East Java en route to Singapore Dec 28 morning. So far, 30 bodies from the crashed plane have been retrieved and flown to Surabaya for identification. (IANS)

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