AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Update – Bad Weather Stalls Search Operations

By Oliver Ngwenya    02-Jan-2015 20:53 UTC+02:00
Relatives of those in Flight QZ8501 overcome by emotion as they await news about their loved ones. Image: ABC News.

Relatives of those in Flight QZ8501 overcome by emotion as they await news about their loved ones.
Image: ABC News.

As the search for the wreckage of the disappeared Malaysian plane entered its fifth day, bad weather has come up as a challenge for those trying to recover bodies of those that were in the plane as well as the wreckage itself, it has been revealed.

On Friday, strong winds and heavy seas were blamed for the slow progress in the search process. According Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, who is head of the search and rescue agency from Indonesia, waves that were as high as four meters made the efforts of those recovering bodies and parts of the wreckage very difficult as it made loading bodies into and between the boats a difficult process. Speaking to reporters in Jarkarta, he added that despite these difficulties, the search process would continue during the night, adding that they would resort to using tug boats, which should make the process of transferring bodies between boats an easy one. He also informed members of the media fraternity that the search, which had so far covered as much as 1,575 square nautical miles of the northern Java Sea, had yielded 30 of the 162 people who were originally in the plane as it left Indonesia’s Surabaya city en route to Singapore. He further said that two of the passengers were still strapped in their seats when their bodies were brought up from the sea.

The AirAsia flight QZ8501 disappeared on Sunday about forty minutes into its two hour flight soon after requesting to climb higher than its original 34 000 feet because it was trying to avoid bad weather. There is speculation that the plane may have attempted a climb that was too steep for the capacity of the Airbus which is partly owned by Malaysia Airlines, which has had two other major plane incidents in 2014. It is expected that the plane may have stalled and then tumbled into the ocean below. However, researchers and investigators alike have held off making speculation until the search party gets hold of the ‘black box’, the device which stores all flight information, which will conclusively reveal what transpired to result in the accident.

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