“Big objects” found in AirAsia hunt

“Big objects” found in AirAsia hunt

“Big objects” found in AirAsia hunt

Written by Ranee Mohamed

03 Jan, 2015 | 11:07 am

Search teams scouring the Java Sea for the wreckage of AirAsia flight QZ8501 have found “two large objects”, Indonesian officials say.

Search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said a remotely operated underwater vehicle was being lowered to take pictures.

However, bad weather and heavy seas continue to hamper operations.

The jet disappeared with 162 people on board while flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore last Sunday.

So far 30 bodies have been recovered in the search. No survivors have been found and the main sections of the Airbus A320 have not been retrieved.

Most bodies are thought to have been trapped in the plane’s fuselage.

‘Confident’

Mr Soelistyo said on Saturday that the large objects had been detected by sonar from an Indonesian navy ship.

“We found oil slicks and huge objects at 23:40 (16:40 GMT) last night. I am confident these are parts of the missing AirAsia plane that we are looking for,” he said.

He said the larger of the objects was 10 metres by five (32ft by 16ft) but that strong currents made operating the underwater vehicle difficult.

As I speak we are lowering an ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) to get an actual picture of the objects detected on the sea floor. All are at the depth of 30 metres.”

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from the forward operating base in Pangkalan Bun that it seems this could be the breakthrough search teams have been hoping for.

A flotilla of ships, including two from the US navy, are converging on the site where the objects were located and preparing to put divers into the water.

The cause of the crash is not yet known. Specialist equipment has arrived to the search for the plane’s “black box” flight recorders, though officials say no signals have been picked up yet.

Numbered coffinsIn another development, it has emerged that AirAsia did not have official permission to fly the Surabaya-Singapore route on Sunday – the day of the crash – but was licensed on four other days of the week.

 -BBC

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