More than 80 deep sea divers, several ships and aircrafts have been deployed to search for crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501. The search mission to find the bodies and flight data recorders from the AirAsia passenger plane resumed on Monday.
Only 37 bodies have so far been recovered from the 155 passengers and seven crew aboard Flight QZ 8501, which plunged into the water en route from Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya to Singapore early Dec. 28.
Divers from Indonesia and Russia have been deployed to the search area, which has been enlarged to allow for tides sweeping bodies and debris further afield. They attempted to survey more of the seabed on Sunday but “visibility at the sea bottom was zero”, search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo said.
Indonesia’s meteorological agency has said seasonal tropical storms probably contributed to the Dec. 28 crash and the weather has persistently hampered efforts to recover bodies and find the cockpit voice and flight data recorders that should explain why the plane crashed into the sea.
“(Weather) sonditions did not allow diving operations,” the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, told a news conference in Jakarta.
Every day the operational area is being extended but the main focus of the search is about 90 nautical miles off the Coast of Borneo Island. Five large objects believed to be parts of the plane – the largest about 18 metres long – have been pinpointed in the area by ships using sonar.
“Based on past experience, the black box is not far from the plane debris we have found,” Mr Soelistyo said. “Our priority is to dive in the location we suspect parts of the plane to be.”
Locating the black boxes is crucial to determining what made the twin-engine Airbus A320-200 crash, though severe weather is still presumed to be key factor.
“The most probable weather phenomenon was icing, which can cause engine damage due to a cooling process,” said a preliminary report on the website of Indonesia’s meteorological agency.