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'Pings' Detected in AirAsia Jet Search: Investigators

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Signals possibly from the "black box" data recorders aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 have been detected, Indonesian officials said Friday.

Signals that could be pings have been picked up for the last few days, Tatang Kurniadi, chief of Indonesia's National Committee for Transportation Safety, told NBC News in Surabaya.

"It comes and goes," Kurniadi said. "There are many possibilities. One is that the pinger has been detached from the black box. We still need to confirm."

Santoso Sayogo, an investigator for the agency, told Reuters, which first reported the pings: "We have our fingers crossed it is the black box. Divers need to confirm. Unfortunately, it seems it's off from the tail. But the divers need to confirm the position."

Indonesian authorities said earlier this week that the tail section of the passenger jet had been found in the Java Sea, a significant discovery because the recorders could be in the tail. The devices contain voice and data information and would be critical to determining what happened to the flight and its 162 passengers and crew Dec. 28. Forty-eight bodies have been recovered, Bambang Soelistyo, head of the national Search and Rescue Agency, said at a news conference Friday.

Bad weather has hampered search efforts nearly every day since the crash. Indonesia's national weather agency said that while conditions improved Wednesday and Thursday, they were likely to worsen again beginning Friday.

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— M. Alex Johnson

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