Friday, January 2, 2015

World News: Search teams look for AirAsia plane wreck after crash, no survivors

Officials continue their search for the wreck of an Indonesia AirAsia passenger jet despite the bad weather and high waves. Reuters reported that ships and aircraft are scanning the seas off Borneo today hunting for the plane, looking for the black box recorders to reveal why it crashed.

Thirty bodies have been recovered up to this point, along with pieces of the plane, in the Indonesian-led search for Flight QZ8501 that is focused on 1,575 square nautical miles of the northern Java Sea, Reuters said. Divers are looking for the Airbus A320-200 which plunged into the water on Sunday while en route from Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.

It was difficult for workers to load bodies onto ships and between ships, and most of the passengers were still strapped to their seats. The international mission involves France, United States and Singapore with technology to sweep the sea floor.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, based on the theory that the plane stalled as it climbed steeply to avoid a storm about 40 minutes into a flight that should have lasted two hours, Reuters said. After the black box is found, officials can issue a preliminary report in one month. Bodies pulled from the sea were taken in numbered coffins to Surabaya, where relatives of the victims have gathered, majority of them Indonesian.

Funerals are ongoing, and remains of three more bodies were identified, including a flight attendant.

A source close to the investigation told Reuters that authorities are investigating the possibility that the pilot did not ask for a weather report at the time of takeoff, a requirement before flying. The captain, a former air force fighter pilot, had 6,100 flying hours on the A320 and the plane's last maintenance work took place mid-November, according to Indonesia AirAsia (49 percent owned by Malaysia-based AirAsia). This is the third reported airline disaster involving Malaysian-affiliated planes in under a year.

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