AirAsia crash, a week on: Hunt on for more bodies, black box amid bad weather

The ill-fated Flight 8501 that went off radars just after 42 minutes of taking off, was flying to Singapore from Surabaya with 162 passengers

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Jan 05, 2015, 09:28 AM IST
AirAsia crash, a week on: Hunt on for more bodies, black box amid bad weather

Jakarta/Singapore: Four more bodies and a fifth large object belonging to the crashed AirAsia jet were retrieved from the Java Sea on Sunday as rescuers battled bad weather in their efforts to reach the fuselage believed to contain the remaining victims besides the crucial black box.

Searchers continued their hunt for more bodies and the wreckage of the Singapore-bound AirAsia Flight QZ8501 carrying 162 people for the eighth day.

At least four more bodies were recovered today, taking the total count to 34. Singapore navy vessel RSS Persistence had recovered one body, while US navy ship USS Sampson had brought three more back to the Indonesian town of Pangkalan Bun, as per PTI.

A pinger locator was deployed today to find the black box of the plane to determine the cause of the fatal crash.

A fifth object, measuring 9.8 metres by 1.1 metres, was located on the seabed, search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo said.

The developments come a day after four large metal objects were located on the seabed amid reports that the plane was flying on an unauthorised schedule when it crashed.

There were hopes the weather would improve today, but conditions once again hampered efforts to find the plane's main wreckage.

Dozens of divers from Indonesia and Russia have been deployed to the search area, which has been enlarged to allow for tides sweeping bodies and debris further afield.

They attempted to survey more of the seabed today but "visibility at the sea bottom was zero," Soelistyo said.

The discovery of wreckage will help the investigating officials a great deal even as the plane's black boxes, the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, and the fuselage (where most of the bodies are believed to be trapped) are yet to be traced.

Meanwhile, Indonesian weather agency BMKG  in a report has attributed “bad weather” to be the triggering factor behind the plane crash.

"Based on the available data received on the location of the aircraft's last contact, the weather was the triggering factor behind the accident," said the report.

"The most probable weather phenomenon was icing which can cause engine damage due to a cooling process. This is just one of the possibilities that occurred based on the analysis of existing meteorological data," it said.

"For the sake of the investigation, we agree, and it is accepted by Interpol, to perform autopsies on the pilot, co-pilot and some randomly selected passengers," said East Java Police Chief Anas Yusuf according to a CNN report.

Meanwhile, Russian Search and Rescue team has also joined the search mission led by Indonesian agency BASARNAS.

Besides recovering bodies, the search team, with the help of sonar, has also found four large pieces of debris - believed to be the crashed plane's wreckage.

The ill-fated Flight 8501 that went off radars just after 42 minutes of taking off, was flying to Singapore from Surabaya with 162 passengers. The plane's pilot, Captain Iriyanto, had made a request to climb to 38,000 ft to avoid stormy clouds, however the permission was not granted as there was another plane in that route.

There was no communication from the plane after that.

Of 162 people on board the plane, there were 137 adult passengers, 17 children and one infant, along with two pilots and five crew. Majority of them were Indonesians.

With Agency inputs