AirAsia: 2 ‘large objects’ found in search for jet

2015-01-03 09:36

Jakarta – Ships searching for the wreck of an AirAsia passenger jet that crashed with 162 people on board have pinpointed two “big objects” on the sea floor, says the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency.

The Airbus A320-200 plunged into the Java Sea on Sunday while en route from Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya to Singapore. No survivors have been found.

“We have detected two objects underwater (at) 30 metres depth,” said search and rescue agency chief Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo today.

“At this moment we are operating the ROV to take pictures of the objects.”

A multi-national task force of ships, planes and helicopters have been scouring the northern Java Sea and coastline of southern Borneo to recover the bodies of victims and locate the wreck of Flight QZ8501 and its black box flight recorders.

The latest break in the massive search and recovery operation comes after Indonesian authorities questioned whether the pilot had followed correct weather report procedures, and suspended Indonesia AirAsia’s Surabaya to Singapore flights for apparently infringing the terms of its licence for the route.

The two objects were found just before midnight yesterday, Soelistyo told a news conference in Jakarta, and the search and rescue agency was attempting to get images using remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV).

The first object measured 9.4 metres by 4.8 metres by 0.4 metres (30 feet by 15 feet by 1.3 feet), while the second is 7.2 metres by 0.5 metres (24 feet by 1.6 feet), he said.

Soelistyo said operating ROVs was problematic due to the large waves in the area that have hampered operations for much of the week, but that divers were preparing to search for the objects.

Much of the effort has focused on finding victims of the crash. Officials said 21 bodies were pulled from the sea yesterday, including two still strapped in their seats, bringing the total number of victims recovered to 30.

Small pieces of the aircraft and other debris have also been found, but there has been no sign of the crucial voice and flight data recorders – the so-called black boxes that investigators hope will unravel the sequence of events in the cockpit during the doomed jet’s final minutes.

“After the black box is found, we are able to issue a preliminary report in one month,” said Toos Sanitioso, an investigator with the National Committee for Transportation Safety yesterday.

“We cannot yet speculate what caused the crash.”

Indonesia's search and rescue agency said the search area had been widened today as debris may have drifted more than 200 nautical miles, adding helicopters would concentrate on searching the coastline of southern Borneo.

The cause of the crash, the first suffered by the AirAsia group since the budget operator began flying in 2002, is unexplained.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.