Data point to “unbelievably” steep climb before AirAsia crash

31 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

AirAsia flight QZ8501: The most powerful images from the search.

A sonar image showing a large, dark object under the sea was presumed to be the missing AirAsia plane, an official with Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said on Wednesday. The first two bodies from the AirAsia plane that crashed off the coast of Borneo have arrived in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, where relatives have gathered to await news of their loved ones.SURABAYA, Indonesia — Indonesian authorities began deploying divers to retrieve debris from the crashed AirAsia jetliner as a day of adverse weather hindered efforts to find the plane’s black boxes.

The massive hunt for the 162 victims of Flight 8501 resumed in the Java Sea on Wednesday, with six bodies, including a flight attendant identified by her trademark red uniform, recovered. Photographers on the scene in Indonesia have captured the heart-breaking grief felt by families, showing them praying and breaking down into tears as they are told no survivors have yet been found. Earlier in the day, images of floating bodies were broadcast on television and relatives of the missing already gathered at a crisis centre in Surabaya wept with heads in their hands. Several people collapsed in grief and were helped away. “My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ8501,” AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes tweeted today. “On behalf of AirAsia, my condolences to all.

Words cannot express how sorry I am.” The airline said in a statement that it was inviting family members to Surabaya, “where a dedicated team of care providers will be assigned to each family to ensure that all of their needs are met”. 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. At the centre, a man identified only as Yohannes and his wife were at the centre awaiting news of her brother, Herumanto Tanus, and two of his children who were on board the doomed flight. Sixty-seven divers were readied by Indonesia to scour the area for the fuselage of the Airbus Group NV A320, plus the black boxes that may answer what doomed the 162 people on board.

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. The Tanus family had been on their way to visit Herumanto’s son, who studies in Singapore and who travelled to Surabaya on Monday after the plane went missing. Authorities in Surabaya were making preparations to receive and identify bodies, including arranging 130 ambulances to take victims to a police hospital and collecting DNA from relatives.

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. Preliminary data appeared to show that AirAsia made an “unbelievably” steep climb before it crashed, possibly pushing it beyond the plane’s limits, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the probe’s initial findings.

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. 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. 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. Three airline disasters involving Malaysian-affiliated carriers in less than a year have dented confidence in the country‘s aviation industry and spooked travellers.

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). 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. 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. The transcript is being submitted for review by the National Transport Safety Committee. “The weather’s terrible: It’s monsoonal and there’s quite a bit of wave height,” said Robert Mann, head of aviation consultant R.W.

The AirAsia group, including affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India, had not suffered a crash since its Malaysian budget operations began in 2002. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, New York. “You just don’t have visibility and you don’t have a stable platform to work from.” The recovery effort will involve salvaging large pieces of the plane, engines, landing gear and other wreckage requiring heavy-duty lifting capability. Bad weather may persist for the next few days, Tatang Zaenudin, deputy for operations at the search agency, said at a Jakarta news conference in the early evening. Flight 8501 is 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. 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.

National Transportation Safety Board held a forum in October on the subject and is “is currently exploring what the next steps might be,” including possible safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration, Peter Knudson, an NTSB spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. The hunt continues for that plane which disappeared in March and has become the longest search for a passenger jet in modern aviation history. _ Rahadiana reported from Jakarta.

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