6 bodies recovered from AirAsia crash

31 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

AirAsia Flight QZ8501: Sonar finds large dark object presumed to be missing jet.

A massive hunt for the 162 victims of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 resumed in the Java Sea on Wednesday, with six bodies, including a flight attendant identified by her trademark red uniform, recovered. The portal, suara.com, quoted a spokesman of the Indonesian national search and rescue team, Bambang Soelistyo, as saying that three bodies were recovered overnight in the waters off Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan.

Investigators were turning their attention Wednesday to the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, which will provide clues to what happened during the six minutes between the time the pilot of the Airbus A320-216 last made contact with air traffic control and when the jet dropped off of the radar. Searchers found the bodies and debris that included a life jacket, an emergency exit door and a suitcase about 10 miles from the plane’s last known coordinates. The black boxes can reveal how fast the plane was going before crashing, its altitude, the status of its systems and what the pilots’ final words were. Investigators will use this information to reconstruct a timeline of what happened and why. “They want to find out as quickly as they can if this is a mechanical flaw or an issue of a pilot error,” Scott Brenner, a former Federal Aviation Administration official, told FoxNews.com.

The AirAsia Indonesia Airbus A320-200 had left Surabaya at 5.20am on Sunday and was scheduled to land at the Changi airport in Singapore at 8.30am (Singapore/Malaysian time) on the same day. Relatives of passengers of the missing AirAsia flight QZ 8501 react upon seeing the news on television about the findings of bodies on the waters near the site where the jetliner disappeared. (AP) BREAKING NEWS: Another #AirAsia plane overshoots in Kalibo runway, #Philippines pic.twitter.com/SR3ZeXEH2M — Breaking News (@NewsOnTheMin) December 30, 2014 The airliner’s disappearance halfway through a two-hour flight between Surabaya, Indonesia, and Singapore triggered an international search for the aircraft involving dozens of planes, ships and helicopters. He said the French were likely to lead an investigation, because they’d want to fix any mechanical issue immediately in case flaws need to be addressed in any of the other French-made Airbuses that are still in use today. The Indonesia AirAsia QZ8501 plane, an Airbus A320-200, disappeared after its pilot failed to get permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather. (Reuters) The plane needs to be located and its cockpit voice and flight data recorders, or black boxes, recovered before officials can start determining what caused the crash.

Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, told The Associated Press that if the plane came down relatively intact, the wreckage would show signs of compression. Images of the debris and a bloated body shown on Indonesian television sent a spasm of anguish through the room at the Surabaya airport where relatives awaited news.

However, if the metal were torn to pieces, Goelz added, that’s a sign of a breakup at altitude, similar to what was seen during the crash of TWA Flight 800, which exploded over the Atlantic Ocean in 1996 after takeoff. Another find included a bright blue plastic suitcase, completely unscratched. ”I know the plane has crashed, but I cannot believe my brother and his family are dead,” said Ifan Joko, who lost seven family members, three of them children, as they traveled to Singapore to ring in the new year. ”We still pray they are alive.” Rescue workers descended on ropes from a hovering helicopter to retrieve bodies. Supriyadi was on the aircraft and saw what appeared to be more wreckage under the water, which was clear and a relatively shallow 20 to 30 meters (65 to 100 feet).

When TV broadcast an image of a half-naked man floating in the water, a shirt partially covering his head, many of the family members screamed and wailed uncontrollably. Whether the bodies were found clothed or not might provide valuable evidence as well, he said, because if a person is ejected mid-air at 500 miles per hour, the force would rip off their clothing immediately.

So far, however, the bodies that have been found didn’t have life jackets on, a sign that there was no attempt to make a controlled ditching, Paul Hayes, safety director at London-based aviation consulting company Ascend Worldwide, told the Miami Herald. Malaysia-based AirAsia’s loss comes on top of the still-unsolved disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March with 239 people aboard, and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July over Ukraine, which killed all 298 passengers and crew. ”From the start, we already knew the risks associated with being a stewardess,” Fauzie said. ”She is beautiful and smart. We couldn’t have stopped her.” AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes, the airline’s founder and public face and a constant presence in Indonesia since the tragedy started unfolding, said he planned to travel to the recovery site on Wednesday.

Brenner also suggested that wind sheer could have pushed the airplane down to the point where the plane’s pilots couldn’t recover, and he didn’t rule out the possibility that pilot error or inexperience may have played a part. However, 2-3 metres (6-9 ft) waves and winds prevented divers from searching the crash zone for the sunken remains of Flight QZ8501, which had 162 people on board when it vanished on Sunday about 40 minutes into its flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore. Aviation experts believe that, weather permitting, the fuselage may be easily found by divers as the aircraft probably only broke up when it hit the water.

Online discussion among pilots has centred on unconfirmed secondary radar data from Malaysia that suggested the aircraft was climbing at a speed of 353 knots, about 100 knots too slow, and that it might have stalled. The lack of a distress call indicated the pilots may have realised too late they were in trouble and were too busy struggling to control the aircraft to issue a call, the Qantas pilot said.

The Indonesian pilot, a former air force fighter pilot with 6,100 flying hours under his belt, was experienced and the plane last underwent maintenance in mid-November, said the airline, which is 49 percent owned by Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia. Three airline disasters involving Malaysian-affiliated carriers in less than a year have dented confidence in the country’s aviation industry and spooked travellers across the region. The AirAsia group, including affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India, had not suffered a crash since its Malaysian budget operations began in 2002.

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