News / Asia

    Calmer Seas Aid Searchers in AirAsia Recovery

    Rescue team members look out toward the ship KRI Banda Aceh as dark clouds fill the sky during a search operation for passengers onboard AirAsia Flight 8501 in the Java Sea, Jan. 4, 2015.
    Rescue team members look out toward the ship KRI Banda Aceh as dark clouds fill the sky during a search operation for passengers onboard AirAsia Flight 8501 in the Java Sea, Jan. 4, 2015.
    VOA News

    Search and recovery teams took advantage of calmer seas Monday to expand the hunt for wreckage and victims of a passenger jet that crashed into the Java Sea eight days ago.

    As the recovery effort entered its ninth day, officials intended to send divers down to a large area where five large pieces believed to be that of the downed Airbus A320 have been found.

    Bad weather for the last week has hampered efforts to locate most of the 162 people believed to have been killed aboard Flight 8501.

    The plane crashed en route from Indonesia to Singapore during a storm, though no official cause has been determined.

    Murky waters forced divers to turn back Sunday, after nearing what officials suspect is the main debris field.

    “They made the dive but in the sea-bed the visibility was zero which means complete darkness, with muddy sea-bed. Also the current wind is about three to five knots. With this kind of condition, the diving effort is temporary suspended by the coordinator, they will try to use ROVs (Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle) instead,” said Bambang Soelistyo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency.

    Recovery teams hope to reach what they believe is the plane’s fuselage to retrieve bodies and the aircraft's flight data recorders - the "black boxes" - located in the tail section of the aircraft.

    An official from Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency said Sunday the fuselage is believed to have broken into several parts, separating the tail from the rest of the aircraft.

    "Based on the findings we can say that the plane's body cracked or broke away or separated from its tail, from the side. There is still no confirmation on the exact location. The body was separated from the tail and the black box was located in the area of the plane's tail," said the official.

    Nine of the 34 bodies found have been identified.

    Indonesia's weather bureau said weather conditions were a factor in causing the plane to plunge into the Java Sea. The findings posted on the agency's website reference several other flights that experienced problems like engine failure and severe turbulence during storms in the area in the last decade.

    Before takeoff and during the last moments of the flight, the pilots requested to fly at a higher altitude to avoid a storm.  The request was not approved because other planes were in the area.

    The twin-engine jet disappeared from radar without a distress call nearly halfway into what was supposed to be a two-hour flight from Surabaya to Singapore.

    Indonesian authorities have temporarily suspended AirAsia flights from Surabaya to Singapore because the airline did not have a permit to fly the route on Sundays - the day of the crash.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    by: Scarred flyer from: Southeastasia
    January 05, 2015 2:46 AM
    I hear that there are pilots who take illegal drugs to keep them alert for their jobs. This sounds scary indeed. Can something be done to prevent this sort of pilots from massacring people, not chickens, in the air?

    by: fixento from: PA
    January 03, 2015 4:26 PM
    Only in Indonesia would the weather bureau make a statement that weather was a factor in the crash before they have even recovered the data recorder. Bad weather, during the summer in the US their are thunder heads that reach up to 60,000 feet and if flying near thunder storms would bring planes down, there would be thousand of plane crashes a year. Either the plane had a problem or the pilots made bad choices. Two planes thatcrash in one year and another that was shot down [could have taken are different route around a war]. Change the name to Disaster Airlines.

    by: Zubairu Yahaya from: Nigeria
    January 03, 2015 2:01 PM
    When ever an accident occurred, that's when you start hearing about Suspension of companies and other personel. Why won't the authorities and agencies concerned do their job of mitigation rather than rescue and recovery which is always more expensive? This is same always even in my country. So sad.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora