Date
17 December 2017
Muslim clerics offer prayers for victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 inside an Indonesian Air Force helicopter flying over the Java Sea on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
Muslim clerics offer prayers for victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 inside an Indonesian Air Force helicopter flying over the Java Sea on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Search teams find more debris, but no sign of AirAsia black box

Search teams scouring the ocean for the wreckage of an AirAsia jet found more metal objects, but officials say there is still no sign of the crucial black box flight recorders.

Bad weather continued to hamper the search, and while conditions eased slightly on Tuesday, high waves and strong currents prevented divers from going deep into the waters to look for the plane’s wreckage on the bottom of the Java Sea, Reuters reported.

Indonesian officials believe they may have located the tail and parts of the fuselage of the Airbus A320-200 about 30 meters below the surface, but have been unable to properly investigate the debris so far, the news agency said.

Flight QZ8501 crashed into the water off Borneo island on Dec. 28, about 40 minutes into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. There were no survivors among the 162 people on board.

Jakarta has launched a crackdown on its fast-growing aviation sector since the crash, reassigning some officials and tightening rules on pre-flight procedures in a country with a patchy reputation for air safety.

“Divers were ready on the ship but the challenges were currents and waves,” the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, told a news conference in Jakarta on Tuesday evening.

He said a US navy ship located two more metal objects using sonar signals, though it is not known yet if they are part of the missing plane. Those would add to the five large objects, believed to have been part of the plane, detected so far.

Two more bodies were also recovered from the sea, bringing the total found so far to 39.

Search and rescue agency official Supriyadi, who is coordinating the operation from the southern Borneo town of Pangkalan Bun, said there had been no “pings” detected from the black box’s emergency locator beacon, possibly because it was buried in the seabed or the muddy water was impeding its signal.

Less than a third of the bodies of the mostly Indonesian passengers and crew have been recovered so far. Many more could still be trapped in the fuselage of the aircraft, the report said.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC/CG

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe