Search and rescue teams from Indonesia are battling inclement weather and massive waves while hunting for the wreckage of the ill fated AirAsia Airbus AIR.PA A320-200 which plunged into the Java Sea last week with 162 people on board. The plane was flying from Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya to Singapore. The sonar equipment hunting for the dead bodies and wreckage which had spotted four large objects on the ocean floor last night, has just confirmed seeing a fifth large object on the seabed as well.
While briefing the reporters on how bad weather which had earlier caused the plane to crash killing all 162 aboard was hindering the search operations, the agency chief Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo added that 31 bodies had been recovered. Most of the bodies, he said, were Indonesian passengers and the crew members.
The biggest piece of wreckage spotted till now by the search team is nearly 59 feet long and 18 feet wide and appeared to be a part of the jet’s body. “Though strong currents and big surf have prevented divers from entering waters to get a visual of the suspected fuselage, officials were hopeful they will find many of the 162 passengers and crew inside, still strapped in their seats.”
“Many of the passengers are believed to be still trapped inside the plane’s fuselage and could be discovered soon,” said rescue official Supriyadi. “God willing, we will complete this operation next week.”
Indonesian officials have also confirmed that the airline did not have the permission to fly their plane along the Surabaya- Singapore route which it had taken when the plane crashed. Though they did have the permission to fly the route daily earlier, “the number of slots was cut because the country was nearing its quota for flying people to Singapore,” said Indonesia’s acting director general of aviation Djoko Murjatmodjo.
It is still not clear as to what exactly caused the plane to plunge into the sea though bad weather seems to be the most likely explanation for the crash so far. The plane’s black boxes (the flight data and cockpit voice recorders) have not yet been found. If found, they will help pinpoint the reason behind the crash.