AirAsia plane crash: Search moves underwater
The underwater search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 which crashed into the sea on December 28 is set to begin with the arrival of specialist equipment.
A French crash investigation team will use sensitive acoustic detection devices to try locate the plane’s “black box” flight recorder.
The Airbus A320-200 was flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board when it vanished.
No survivors have been found and the cause of the crash remains unknown.
Several more bodies were located on January 2, bringing the total found to 16.
One person has been identified as passenger Hayati Lutfiah Hamid – her funeral was held in Surabaya on January 1.
The plane is almost certainly at the bottom of the relatively shallow Java Sea.
Several pieces of debris have been recovered, including what is thought to be part of a wing flap.
Despite a massive five-day search the fuselage is still missing. Officials say most of the passengers could still be inside.
Locating the fuselage and the flight recorder will help answer the mystery of what happened to make the plane fall from the sky.
The head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Bambang Soelistyo, said on January 2 that wreckage and bodies are spread over a 3-mile area of the Java Sea.
The search was now focusing on an area of 1,575 nautical square miles of the Java Sea off Borneo, he told reporters.
“Divers are already on standby at the navy ship Banda Aceh to dive on that priority area to locate the body of the plane,” he said.
“I hope we’ll get a significant result today.”
There were 137 adult passengers, 17 children and one infant, along with two pilots and five crew, on the plane. The majority of those on board were Indonesians.
Some investigators are reported to believe that the plane may have gone into an aerodynamic stall as the pilot climbed steeply to avoid a storm.
A source quoted by Reuters said that radar data appeared to show that the aircraft’s “unbelievably” steep climb may have been beyond the Airbus A320’s limits.
[youtube 9SSHzFXtCyE 650]