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Efforts to retrieve AirAsia plane's "black boxes" hit snag

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia -- The tail section of the AirAsia passenger jet that crashed late last month is upside down and partially buried in the sea floor, and experts are trying to figure out how to remove the plane's "black boxes" from it, Indonesian officials said.

The head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, Henry Bambang Soelistyo, told reporters Thursday the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board would help investigators determine whether the devices are still in position in the tail or were jarred loose by the impact of the crash.

Authorities sent a team of divers to put rope around the tail as part of an effort to lift it Thursday, but strong currents and poor visibility due to heavy silt later forced officials to end the operation for the day.

"Our plan is to tie inflatable floats to the tail and lift up the tail which would then allow divers to enter the plane to search for the black box," Soeslistyo said.

The water in the Java Sea is relatively shallow at about 100 feet deep, but this is the worst time of year for a recovery operation due to monsoon rains and wind creating choppy seas and blinding silt from river runoff.

Divers and an unmanned underwater vehicle on Wednesday spotted the tail of the plane that crashed into the Java Sea with 162 people on board. It is an important finding because the jet's black boxes -- which should help pinpoint the cause of the crash -- are located in that part of the aircraft.

Search teams found the plane's tail section t... 02:32
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