AirAsia: Poor visibility hampers search

2015-01-04 08:04

Zero visibility prevented Indonesian Navy divers from reaching large objects believed to be parts of an AirAsia plane that crashed with 162 people last week.

Rescue officials yesterday said ships equipped with sonar technology had detected four large objects they hoped were parts of AirAsia’s Airbus A320-200 fuselage.

“Today we sent two divers with the aim of reaching the biggest object, but visibility on the sea floor was zero and it was covered with mud,” said search chief Bambang Sulistyo. “So the effort was suspended.”

A remotely operated undersea vehicle would be sent instead, he said.

High waves and strong winds in the past few days had prevented divers equipped with cameras and sonar devices from scouring the sea floor to find more debris and bodies.

Bambang said searchers detected another object on the sea floor near the other four objects found earlier.

Officials said they believed the bodies of many of the victims were still be strapped to their seats in the aircraft’s fuselage.

Bambang said another body was found, bringing the confirmed death toll to 31.

The aircraft went down during a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, to Singapore on December 28.

Searchers were also racing against time to find the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, which could shed light on what went wrong with the flight.

The aircraft did not send a distress signal before it disappeared from the radar.

Researchers at Indonesia’s meteorology agency suggested that that icing might have damaged the engine after the plane flew into storm clouds.

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