Bad weather hinders search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501; 10 bodies recovered

31 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

AirAsia victim with life jacket on raises questions on crash.

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia — Bad weather hindered efforts to recover victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 on Wednesday and sent wreckage drifting far from the crash site, as grieving relatives prayed for strength to endure their losses. “Help us, God, to move forward, even though we are surrounded by darkness,” the Rev. TRAGIC MYSTERY:A pilot said that the life vest suggests that a massive failure did not cause the crash, but that the plane stalled, possibly due to ice A body recovered yesterday from the crashed AirAsia plane was wearing a life jacket, an Indonesian search-and-rescue official said, raising new questions about how the disaster unfolded. Rescuers believe they have found the plane on the ocean floor off Borneo, after sonar detected a large, dark object beneath waters near where debris and bodies were found on the surface.

Searchers recovered seven bodies so far, including that of a female flight attendant, from the wreckage site of Flight 8501, while 17 helicopters assisted recovery efforts, F.H. The massive hunt for 162 people who vanished Sunday aboard the Airbus A320 travelling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore, was severely limited due to heavy rain, wind and thick clouds. Seven bodies, including a flight attendant in her red AirAsia uniform, have been recovered, said Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo. Sixty seven divers were readied by Indonesia to scour the area for the fuselage of the Airbus Group NV (AIR) A320, plus the black boxes that may answer what doomed the 162 people on board.

The cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders are essential to piecing together what happened in the six minutes between the time the pilot asked the control tower for permission to deviate from the flight path and when the jet dropped off radar contact. A pilot who works for a Gulf carrier said the life jacket indicated the cause of the crash was not “catastrophic failure.” Instead, the plane could have stalled and then come down, possibly because its instruments iced up and gave the pilots inaccurate readings.

He said it could take a minute for a plane to come down from 30,000 feet (9,144m) and the pilots could have experienced “tunnel vision … too overloaded” to send a distress call. The aircraft’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders, or black boxes, must be recovered before officials can start determining what caused the crash. 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. Simple wooden coffins — numbered 001 and 002 — with purple flowers on top contained the first two bodies, which were sent from Pangkalan Bun to Surabaya for autopsies. The Flight 8501 pilots requested to climb to 38,000 feet and were given a response two minutes later to fly at 34,000 feet, Wisnu Darjono, director at AirNav Indonesia, the nation’s air navigation operator, told Bloomberg News today, citing a transcript of the conversation between traffic controllers and the plane.

It’s the third high-profile incident involving a carrier in Asia this year, raising safety concerns in one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world. It took almost two years for investigators to recover the data recorders from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean after an Air France plane went down en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009.

I surrender all.” Many family members had planned to travel to Pangkalan Bun, 160 kilometres from the area where bodies were first spotted, to start identifying their loved ones. However, Surabaya airport general manager Trikora Hardjo later said the trip was cancelled after authorities suggested their presence could slow down the operation. It was 13-year-old Adrian Fernando’s first trip to the city-state and was supposed to be a fun vacation with his aunt, uncle and cousin before school resumed. “He is my only son,” said his emotional mother Linca Gonimasela, 39, who could not accompany him because she had to work. “At first, he didn’t want to go, but later on he was persuaded to join them for the New Year holiday.” A number of Indonesian cities have opted to cancel or tone down their planned New Year’s Eve celebrations. To contact the reporters on this story: Rieka Rahadiana in Jakarta at rrahadiana@bloomberg.net; Fathiya Dahrul in Surabaya at fdahrul@bloomberg.net; Yudith Ho in Surabaya at yho35@bloomberg.net

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