The mystery regarding the whereabouts of AirAsia’s missing plane has now been solved. The end, however, brings tragic news to the families waiting at Surabaya’s airport in Indonesia. Debris and bloated bodies were found floating in the shallow waters of the Java Sea, 160 kilometers from land.
After two days of continuous search with crews consisting of planes, helicopters and ships, assisted by searchers and planes sent from India, Australia and Malaysia a life jacket and one of the aircraft’s emergency doors were discovered. They also found a fragment belonging to the inner part of the plane, an oxygen tanks and an almost intact blue plastic suitcase. These items found their way to the shores of Pangkalan Bun, a town near the crashing site.
According to Naval Aviation Center commander at Surabaya Air Force base and First Admiral Sigit Setiayanta the bodies of six passengers were recovered from an area close to the Borneo island, approximately 16 kilometers from the coordinates last given by the plane’s captain.
National Search and Rescue Director SB Supriyadi said that the rescue crew is doing their best but that the mission was slowed down by unfavorable weather conditions with strong winds and 6 – foot high (2 –meter) waves. A navy ship managed to retrieve several bodies some time after Supriyadi’s public announcement. He added that more wreckage was lying under the shallow waters of the Java Sea.
Local news showed on TV how rescuers descending ropes tied to hovering helicopters in order to retrieve the bodies. One channel showed a member of the rescue team being lowered towards the half-naked body of a man whose head was partially covered by his shirt.
These news and images reached the families of the deceased. In the blink of an eye, Surabaya’s airport was covered in despair and pain. Medical assistance was needed for a middle-aged man who collapsed after hearing the news.
Before losing contact with air traffic control, pilots sent a request for permission to fly at a higher altitude due to oncoming storm clouds. Minutes later, without sending any distress signals, the plane disappeared from radar.
Another peculiar detail is that the victims were not wearing lifejackets. The aircraft’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders also known as black boxes have yet to be found. Besides black boxes, the passengers’ autopsies might also reveal clues as to what could have caused the plane crash.
This is the 3rd unfortunate Asian flight event. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March along with its 239 passengers followed by the crash of another Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine in July, killing all of its 298 passengers and crew.
Image Source: National Post