Connect with us

World

Divers retrieve AirAsia ‘black box’, explosion theory questioned

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Divers retrieve AirAsia ‘black box’, explosion theory questioned
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Indonesian navy divers retrieved the black box flight data recorder from the wreck of an AirAsia passenger jet on Monday, a major step towards unravelling the cause of the crash that killed all 162 people on board.

But there was confusion about what happened in the final moments of Flight QZ8501, which crashed off the Indonesian coast on Dec. 28, with one official saying the plane probably exploded before hitting the water and another disputing that theory.

The Airbus A320-200 airliner lost contact with air traffic control in bad weather less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore.

“At 7:11, we succeeded in lifting the part of the black box known as the flight data recorder,” Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters at a news conference.

The second so-called black box, containing the cockpit voice recorder, is located about 20 metres away from where the flight data recorder was found, but divers have not yet been able to get to it.

“(The cockpit voice recorder) seems to be under a wing, which is quite heavy,” said Supriyadi, operations coordinator for the search and rescue agency. “So we will use air bags to lift it. This will be done tomorrow.”

The black boxes contain a wealth of data that will be crucial for investigators piecing together the sequence of events that led to the airliner plunging into the sea.

Supriyadi said the wreckage indicated that the plane likely “experienced an explosion” before hitting the water due to a significant change in air pressure.

He said the left side of the plane seemed to have disintegrated, pointing to a change in pressure that could have caused an explosion.

Supporting this possibility, Supriyadi added, was the fact that fishermen in the area had reported hearing an explosion and saw smoke above the water.

THEORY DISPUTED

But another official disputed the likelihood of a blast.

“There is no data to support that kind of theory,” said Santoso Sayogo, an investigator at the National Transportation Safety Committee.

The flight data recorder was brought by helicopter to Pangkalan Bun, the southern Borneo town that has been the base for the search effort, and then flown to Jakarta for analysis.

The black box looked to be in good condition, said Tatang Kurniadi, the head of the transport safety committee.

Investigators may need up to a month to get a complete reading of the data.

“The download is easy, probably one day. But the reading is more difficult … could take two weeks to one month,” the NTSC’s head investigator, Mardjono Siswosuwarno, said.

Over the weekend, three vessels detected “pings” that were believed to be from the black boxes, but strong winds, powerful currents and high waves hampered search efforts.

Dozens of Indonesian navy divers took advantage of calmer weather on Monday to retrieve the flight recorder and search for the fuselage of the Airbus.

Forty-eight bodies have been retrieved from the Java Sea and brought to Surabaya for identification. Searchers believe more bodies will be found in the plane’s fuselage.

Relatives of the victims have urged authorities to make finding the remains of their loved ones the priority.

ALTITUDE DATA INTERRUPTED

Sources close to the investigation say the aircraft’s transponder transmitted data as it first rose sharply then fell from a peak of 38,000 feet, but that it stopped transmitting its altitude once it had completed a third of its descent.

The jet kept sending other data such as the speed of descent, which was the last parameter to be broadcast before it hit the water close to where wreckage was subsequently found.

It is not yet clear whether the gap in altitude data below 22-24,000 feet originated in the A320’s systems or problems in transmission, underlining the importance of recovering complete evidence from the data recorder.

Separately, Airbus has begun talks with a European regulator on proposals to make ejectable flight recorders available on its two largest models, potentially making them the first commercial planes to use the technology.

Indonesia AirAsia, 49 percent owned by the Malaysia-based AirAsia budget group, has come under pressure from authorities in Jakarta since the crash.

The transport ministry has suspended the carrier’s Surabaya-Singapore licence for flying on a Sunday, for which it did not have permission. However, the ministry has said this had no bearing on the crash.

President Joko Widodo said the disaster exposed widespread problems in the management of air travel in Indonesia.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Business8 mins ago

Strapped for cash, Thai Airways puts 3 more aircraft up for sale

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 mins ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 143 deaths and 10,919 new cases

Phang Nga30 mins ago

Phang Nga asks for tourists to be allowed travel directly from Phuket airport

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand36 mins ago

Party at luxury villa in Phuket raided, homeowner allegedly assaults police officer

Bangkok1 hour ago

Governor says Bangkok will only re-open when safe to do so

Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Australian released from death row, Samui restaurant raided | September 20

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
News17 hours ago

Pathum Thani man allegedly lights building on fire, sticks around to laugh and smile

Thailand17 hours ago

Australian and American on Thai death row released from Thai death row, Supreme Court clears drug trafficking case

World18 hours ago

Insect snacks hit Japanese vending machines

Thailand18 hours ago

The Return of ‘THE TIM’ | Thaiger Bites | September 20

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 12,709 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand19 hours ago

Pattaya laundry shop reports ladies’ underwear thief is on the loose

World20 hours ago

Hanoi to ease Covid restrictions this week

Thailand21 hours ago

Morning Top Stories | No approved October re-opening, Phuket easing restrictions | September 20

Thailand21 hours ago

Government believes more suspects involved in theft from budget meant for the disabled

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand7 days ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending