Divers resume search for AirAsia victims

An Indonesian Navy seaboat (right) picks up items retrieved from the Republic of Singapore Navy vessel RSS Valour.  

The weather improved on Monday and divers will attempt again to locate large objects on the ocean floor believed to be the fuselage of the AirAsia flight that crashed more than one week ago, killing all 162 on board.

At least five ships with equipment that can detect the plane’s black boxes have been deployed to the area where the suspected plane parts were spotted, said Suryadi B. Supriyadi, Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue director of operations.

“If it cannot be done by divers, we will use sophisticated equipment with capabilities of tracking underwater objects and then will lift them up,” Mr. Supriyadi said.

Five large objects the biggest measuring 59 feet long and 18 feet wide and believed to be the fuselage have been detected, and Mr. Supriyadi repeated that officials expect that many passengers and crew will be found trapped inside.

“But today’s searching mission is still, once again, depend on the weather,” he said.

Divers tried to reach the site on Sunday, but rolling seas stirred up silt and mud, leaving them with zero visibility.

It is not known what caused the Singapore-bound plane to crash into the Java Sea 42 minutes after taking off on what was supposed to be a two-hour flight. Just before losing contact, the pilot told air traffic control that he was approaching threatening clouds, but was denied permission to climb to a higher altitude because of heavy air traffic.

Surabaya has been gripped by grief as bodies, one by one, continue arriving in simple, numbered coffins after being painstakingly pulled from the water. Four more bodies were brought to shore on Sunday, raising the total to 34.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 6:21:16 AM |

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