The grim and sorrowful truth came out early this morning as crews discovered debris and bodies from an AirAsia jet that disappeared off the radar Sunday, strewn over an area in the Java Sea. Many of the victims’ relatives learned on the news while watching television today (see video) not exactly an ideal way to have closure.
According to Reuters, “Indonesian rescuers searching for an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people pulled bodies and wreckage from the sea off the coast of Borneo on Tuesday, prompting relatives of those on board watching TV footage to break down in tears.” Indonesia AirAsia’s Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control early on Sunday, Dec. 28 during bad weather on a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.
Although the jet is still missing the navy was able to recover 40 bodies, oxygen tanks and a plane door from the sea. Obviously loved ones are stricken with grief. Airline head Tony Fernandes tweeted, “My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ8501,” “On behalf of AirAsia, my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am.” The airline has invited family members to Surabaya. The airline issued a statement saying that it was inviting family members to Surabaya, “where a dedicated team of care providers will be assigned to each family to ensure that all of their needs are met”.
Crews are battling high waves. Ships and aircraft from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Koreaand the United States are involved the search.According the Reuters article, “The plane, whose engines were made by CFM International, co-owned by General Electric and Safran of France, lacked real-time engine diagnostics or monitoring, a GE spokesman said.” “Such systems are mainly used on long-haul flights and can provide clues to airlines and investigators when things go wrong.”
The AirAsia incident marks the third airline disaster involving Malaysian-affiliated carriers in less than a year. Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared into thin air on March 8, 2014 on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board and has not been found. On July 17 of this year the same airline’s Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
Bizarrely, an AirAsia plane from Manila skidded off and overshot the runway on landing at Kalibo in the central Philippines on Tuesday. No one was hurt.
Passenger on board flight QZ8501 included 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. The co-pilot was French.
Authorities report that the AirAsia group, and its affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India, have had a safety record since its startup in 2002.
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the passengers.