sunny.png
Tuesday June 15th, 2021 9:06AM

Wreckage, bodies reveal jet's fate days after it disappeared

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor
PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia (AP) -- Family members of those aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 collapsed in agony Tuesday as images of debris and a body flashed across Indonesian television screens, proof that the plane crashed into the sea two days earlier with 162 people on board.<br /> <br /> The low-cost carrier vanished Sunday halfway through a two-hour flight between Surabaya, Indonesia and Singapore after encountering storm clouds, sparking an international hunt with dozens of planes, ships and helicopters.<br /> <br /> On the third day of searching, the first signs of the jet were found in shallow, aqua waters only about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the plane's last known coordinates: A life jacket, an emergency exit door. Parts of the jetliner's interior, including an oxygen tank, were brought to the nearest town, Pangkalan Bun. Another find included a bright blue plastic suitcase, completely unscratched.<br /> <br /> "I know the plane has crashed, but I cannot believe my brother and his family are dead," said Ifan Joko, who lost seven relatives, three of them children, as they traveled to Singapore to ring in the New Year. "... We still pray they are alive."<br /> <br /> First Adm. Sigit Setiayanta, Naval Aviation Center commander at Surabaya Air Force base, told reporters six corpses were spotted about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Central Kalimantan province.<br /> <br /> Rescue workers were lowered on ropes from a hovering helicopter to retrieve bodies. Efforts were hindered by 2-meter-high (6-foot) waves and strong winds, National Search and Rescue Director SB Supriyadi said, but the first body was later picked up by a navy ship. Officials said as many as six others followed, but they disagreed about the exact number.<br /> <br /> Supriyadi was on the aircraft and saw what appeared to be more wreckage under the water, which was clear and a relatively shallow 20 to 30 meters (65 to 100 feet).<br /> <br /> Television coverage of the discovery sent a spasm of pain through the room at the Surabaya airport where relatives were waiting for news, especially as it showed a half-naked man floating in the water, a shirt partially covering his head.<br /> <br /> Many screamed and wailed uncontrollably, breaking down into tears while they squeezed each other. One middle-aged man collapsed and had to be carried out on a stretcher.<br /> <br /> Their horror at the news was captured by cameras on the other side of windows into the waiting room. To grant traumatized family members privacy, officials blacked out the glass later Tuesday evening.<br /> <br /> Around 125 family members were planning to travel to Pangkalan Bun on Wednesday to start identifying their loved ones. Body bags and coffins have been prepared at hospitals there, while dozens of elite military divers will join the massive search. They are desperate to scour the water ahead of approaching rough weather.<br /> <br /> The crash caps an astonishingly tragic year for air travel in Southeast Asia, and Malaysia in particular. Malaysia-based AirAsia's loss comes on top of the still-unsolved disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March with 239 people aboard, and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July over Ukraine, which killed all 298 passengers and crew.<br /> <br /> Nearly all the passengers and crew were Indonesians, who are frequent visitors to Singapore, particularly on holidays.<br /> <br /> Haidar Fauzie, 60, said his youngest child and only daughter, Khairunnisa Haidar, was a stewardess who had worked with AirAsia for two years.<br /> <br /> On learning about the crash, he struggled to console his grieving wife. They last saw their child six weeks ago, when she returned home on holiday.<br /> <br /> "From the start, we already knew the risks associated with being a stewardess," said Fauzie. "She is beautiful and smart. It has always been her dream to fly. We couldn't have stopped her."<br /> <br /> Before flying to Surabaya to pay his respects to the families, AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted, "My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501. On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am."<br /> <br /> Fernandes, the founder and the face of AirAsia, and a constant presence in Indonesia since the tragedy started unfolding, said he planned to travel to the recovery site on Wednesday.<br /> <br /> "I have apologized profusely for what they are going through," he said of his contact with relatives. "I am the leader of this company, and I have to take responsibility. That is why I'm here. I'm not running away from my obligations."<br /> <br /> It is not clear what brought the plane down.<br /> <br /> The last communication indicated the pilots were worried about bad weather. They sought permission to climb above threatening clouds, but were denied due to heavy air traffic. Four minutes later, the jet disappeared from the radar without issuing a distress signal.<br /> <br /> The plane's cockpit voice and flight data recorders, or black boxes, have yet to be recovered. Scott Hamilton, managing director of aviation consultancy Leeham Co., said in a post on his website that autopsies may provide some of the earliest clues about what happened.<br /> <br /> "If death was due to blunt force trauma, this could suggest passengers were alive upon impact with the water," he wrote. "If death came from other circumstances, this could suggest an explosive decompression and in-flight break up occurred."<br /> <br /> Several countries rushed to Indonesia to help with search and recovery efforts.<br /> <br /> The United States said it was sending the USS Sampson destroyer, joining at least 30 ships, 15 aircraft and seven helicopters in the search for the jet, said Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo.<br /> <br /> A Chinese frigate also was on the way, while Singapore said it was sending two underwater beacon detectors to try to detect pings from the plane's all-important cockpit voice and flight data recorders. Malaysia, Australia and Thailand also are involved in the search.
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 5 years ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 5 years ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 5 years ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 5 years ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 5 years ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 5 years ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 5 years ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 5 years ago )
Politics
US allows 1st emergency use of a COVID-19 antibody drug
U.S. health officials have allowed emergency use of the first antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19
10:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
Tropical Storm Eta floods already drenched Florida cities
Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Eta is causing dangerous flooding across Florida’s most densely populated urban areas, stranding cars and swamping entire neighborhoods with fast-rising water
10:34PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump books will continue after Trump leaves office
It's been one of publishing’s most thriving genres of the past four years: books about President Donald Trump
9:10PM ( 3 hours ago )
Testing timeline: What’s ahead for COVID-19 vaccines
Pfizer’s surprising news that its COVID-19 vaccine might offer more protection than anticipated is raising questions about exactly how the different shots will make it to market
8:48PM ( 4 hours ago )
Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is looking 90% effective
Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19
8:41PM ( 4 hours ago )