AirAsia QZ8501 What We Know So Far

It is heartbreaking to learn of the tragic circumstances of AirAsia flight QZ8501 en route from Surabaya to Singapore which lost contact at 07:24 local time December 28, 2014.

My deepest condolences to the families of all affected by this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

I will keep this post updated with the facts which arise as the recovery effort and investigation continues. **Note that after 15th January any updates will be on major events, not daily.

January 20, Day Twenty-Three

A team of 10 investigators from the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) who listened to the content of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) have found “no threats” in the cockpit of QZ8501, Reuters reports.

Andreas Hananto told Reuters that his team of 10 investigators at the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) had found “no threats” in the cockpit voice recordings to indicate foul play during AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

The Airbus (AIR.PA) A320-200 vanished from radar screens on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. There were no survivors.

When asked if there was any evidence from the recording that terrorism was involved, Hananto said: “No. Because if there were terrorism, there would have been a threat of some kind.”

“In that critical situation, the recording indicates that the pilot was busy with the handling of the plane.”

Investigators said they had listened to the whole of the recording but transcribed only about half.

“We didn’t hear any voice of other persons other than the pilots,” said Nurcahyo Utomo, another investigator. “We didn’t hear any sounds of gunfire or explosions. For the time being, based on that, we can eliminate the possibility of terrorism.”

 

Investigators have thus far listened only to part of the recording and have yet to complete a transcript of the CVR, but found that the final minutes of the flight were alarms from the aircraft systems.  Investigators also decoding the Flight-Data Recorder (FDR) and believe it unlikely that there was any explosion onboard.

“From the (flight data recordings) so far, it’s unlikely there was an explosion,” Hananto said. “If there was, we would definitely know because certain parameters would show it. There are something like 1,200 parameters.”

AirAsia issued the following update to its Facebook page yesterday 19th January 2015:

SURABAYA, 19TH JANUARY 2015 – AirAsia Indonesia wishes to update on the latest developments on the search and rescue (SAR) operations led by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia.

 The search and recovery mission continued today as the sea divers began to descend in the Java Sea floor to observe the fuselage wreckage this morning. During the dive, SAR divers were able to recover more debris such as passenger windows, seats and other interior parts believed to be from the QZ 8501 aircraft from the seafloor. However, the floating mission continued to be hampered due to high waves and adverse weather conditions. No additional passenger recoveries were reported today.

Meanwhile, the two passengers that were recovered yesterday were flown from Pangkalan Bun to Surabaya this afternoon and arrived at Bhayangkara Hospital at 16.20 HRS LT for identification purposes.

The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) announced that there is no identification release today. DVI POLRI team is currently gathering more DNA evidence toward the remaining passengers.

To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered a total of 53 remains of which 45 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI, 8 remains are still being identified.

AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

January 15, Day Eighteen

There is an effort underway to raise the fuselage of QZ8501 by using balloons, but it has thus far been unsuccessful, as Channel News Asia reports.  At present, divers are doing the difficult job of trying to enter the sunken fuselage to search for more bodies of victims which could be recovered from the sea.

https://twitter.com/JackBoard/status/555607719680307200

January 14, Day Seventeen

News that a Singaporean navy ship located the fuselage of the Flight QZ8501 aircraft is both a relief and gut wrenching.  The ghostly, murky underwater images also illustrate the challenges SAR teams and divers have faced in recovery of wreckage for this plane.

We can only hope that soon all that remains of the wreckage can be pulled from the sea and that a proper investigation can commence. Bloomberg published an excellent article on the process of an aircraft investigation which ran on Skift today.

So far, the bodies of 48 passengers have been found, and it is hoped that the remaining passengers can recovered now.

Tony Fernandes Tweeted his reaction to the news 

AirAsia updated its statement on Facebook

SURABAYA, 14TH JANUARY 2015 – The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia this evening confirmed to have located the fuselage of QZ8501 in the second focused primary area. The confirmation followed the visual confirmation captured by a SAR vessel’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) showing the main wreckage of QZ 8501 aircraft as well as the right wing on the seafloor of the Java Sea. Sea divers from SAR team will be deployed tomorrow morning for recovery operations.

 In addition, BASARNAS also confirmed to have recovered two additional passengers’ remains which were located near Sembilan Island, approximately 70 miles southwest from Kota Baru, South Borneo. The two remains will be transported to Pangkalan Bun and then to Bhayangkara Hospital in Surabaya for identification.

Meanwhile in Surabaya, Simon Djidrovski Coordinator EDPS, DVI Unit Police Forensics Sub-Directorate INTERPOL visited the crisis center at the East Java Region Police Headquarter this morning. During his visit, Simon also supervised the overall identification process led by the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) and he extended his appreciation on how the on-going DVI process has been conducted in accordance with INTERPOL DVI guidelines.

In addition, DVI POLRI announced that two more passengers have been identified as: Jie Stephanie Gunawan (female) and Christanto Leoma Hutama (male) today.

To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered a total of 50 remains of which 38 have been identified by DVI POLRI, 10 are still being identified and 2 have yet arrived at Bhayangkara Hospital.

AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation; and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

You may also obtain substantiated information only from authorised AirAsia social media accounts: Facebook (www.facebook.com/AirAsia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/AirAsia)

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 13, Day Seventeen

As the BBC reports, the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) has now been found, and investigators will be able to use both sources of data to reach their determinations.

AirAsia updated its statement on Facebook 

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 13th JANUARY 2015 9:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 13TH JANUARY 2015 – The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia today announced that Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of QZ8501 aircraft has been found and lifted from the seafloor this morning. The CVR was found at a distance of approximately 20 meter from the location where the flight data recorder was found yesterday.

Following this finding, BASARNAS confirmed that both parts of the aircraft’s blackbox (flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder) have been evacuated and flown to Jakarta for further investigation by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT).

Meanwhile in Surabaya, BASARNAS chief, Marshal Bambang Soelistyo visited the crisis center in East Java Region Police Headquarter this afternoon to have a direct dialogue with the families and loved ones of QZ 8501’s passengers and crew.

During the dialogue, Bambang Soelistyo assured the family that the main SAR operation is still on-going and their main priority is to search and recover the passengers despite weather and underwater current challenges faced by the SAR team.

The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) announced that two more passengers have been identified as: Oscar Desano (male) and Yuni Astutik (female) today.

To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered a total of 48 remains of which 36 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 12 remains are still being identified.

AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

You may also obtain substantiated information only from authorised AirAsia social media accounts: Facebook (www.facebook.com/AirAsia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/AirAsia).

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 12, Day Sixteen

Both the Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder “black boxes” have now been found in the wreckage of AirAsia QZ8501  though only the Flight Data Recorder has thus far been retrieved from the bottom of the Java Sea.

SAR teams have recorded that it is lodged under the wreckage and that divers are having difficulties with freeing it. The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) stores data from the aircraft’s diagnostics and avionics systems and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) will contain a voice record which may shed light on the pilots’ actions right up to the moment of the crash. The SAR teams will hand over the black boxes to investigators in Jakarta as soon as both are recovered.

Some confusion arose when comments were made by certain search officials that the aircraft exploded when hitting the water. 

According to reports on Europa Press (link in Spanish), there were contradictory versions of an explosion of the AirAsia A320 QZ8501. The director of Operations for the national search and rescue agency, S.B. Supriyadi, had said it was probable that the aircraft suffered an explosion prior to crashing in the water, and added that the wreckage reflected a disintegration of the fuselage. This statement was quickly rebuffed by investigators, who said there was no data available to support such a theory.

In fact, reaching any conclusions without an opportunity to first review the information on the FDR retrieved, hopefully putting it in context of the recordings of cockpit conversations on the CVR, and a careful forensic analysis of the wreckage is irresponsible.

Readers should not that when an aircraft hits the water, even on an intended ditching, it has can fall apart without an explosion being the cause of the break-up. Think of the impact as similar to landing bodily flat on the water when diving from a very great height. There is no direct correlation between disintegration of an aircraft which has hit the water and the disintegration resulting from a detonation or explosion. However, the latter will leave other trace evidence for investigators to review. The types of breaks and any charring, even chemical traces on the remnants of the wreckage, will help inform a final study. It takes time for the pieces to be examined up close and for the necessary tests to be run before anyone can really know what caused this accident.

The rush to judge in this raises questions over the overall integrity of managing information on this investigation, on the investigator’s ability to keep information from leaking out without proper analysis. In short, are the people working on the case of QZ8501 so eager to give answers that the wrong answers will do? The Search and Rescue teams are simply not qualified to judge root cause. It is not unusual for all sorts of theories to arise prematurely, but it will be the ultimate demonstration of the Indonesian investigative body’s competence that they can quickly address and debunk these theories, as they have done in this particular case. It will also be essential that the investigators can prove that they can maintain control of evidence and data analysed, without partial information leaking out.

It’s worth pointing to this recent complaint by the NTSB and over the premature release of aircraft crash data:

We should look at any statements made by any parties prior to a proper investigation with a critical eye and a generous dose of skepticism.

Only 48 bodies have been recovered so far, out of a total of 162 people onboard. It is supposed that the balance of the passengers may be in the main body of the fuselage, which has yet to be found.

Air Asia updated its statement on Facebook

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 12th JANUARY 2015 10:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 12TH JANUARY 2015 – Entering the sixteenth day, the SAR operations led by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia has made a breakthrough with the recovery of QZ 8501 aircraft’s Flight Data Recorder (FDR) at 07:11HRS LT (GMT+7) today.

BASARNAS confirmed that the FDR was found under the plane’s wing wreckage and has been lifted from the seafloor (up to 30 meters below surface). The FDR will be transferred to Jakarta, and handed over to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) for investigation. BASARNAS reported that the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) has yet to be located and is still being searched around the area.

In addition, sea divers from SAR team were deployed today to obtain visual confirmation of two large objects which are suspected to be parts of the aircraft, approximately 4km from the location where the tail piece was found.

BASARNAS also assured that passengers recovery remains to be the main priority. Local fishermen have been asked to support SAR operation on a smaller scale. No additional recoveries were reported today.

In Surabaya, the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they were able to identify 2 more remains, identified as: David Gunawan (male) and Youvita Elisabeth (female). Both are Indonesian citizens.

To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered a total of 48 remains of which 34 have been identified by DVI POLRI and 14 are still being identified.

AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

You may also obtain substantiated information only from authorised AirAsia social media accounts: Facebook (www.facebook.com/AirAsia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/AirAsia).

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 11, Day Fifteen

Air Asia updated its statement on Facebook 

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 11th January 2015 9:00 PM (GMT+7)11 January 2015 at 15:44 SURABAYA, 11TH JANUARY 2015 – AirAsia Indonesia wishes to inform the latest development on the SAR operation of flight QZ 8501 lead by The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia.    Good weather and clear visibility have allowed for SAR operations to continue with the focus remaining on the search and recovery of the passengers in the primary search area.    SAR vessels and sea divers also approached the area where the pings were detected, suspected to be the location of the aircraft’s black box. No additional remain recoveries were reported today.    In Surabaya, the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they were able to identify three more remains, 1 Indonesian known as Vera Chandra Kho (female) and 2 South Koreans, identified as Kyung Hwa Lee (female) and Seongbeom Park (male).    To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered a total of 48 remains of which 32 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 16 remains are still being identified.    AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.    You may also obtain substantiated information only from authorised AirAsia social media accounts: Facebook (www.facebook.com/AirAsia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/AirAsia)    Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 10, Day Fourteen

Air Asia Updated its statement on Facebook

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 10th January 2015 9:00 PM (GMT+7)10 January 2015 at 15:23
SURABAYA,10TH JANUARY 2015 – The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia today confirmed that they successfully lifted the tail piece of QZ 8501’s aircraft from the Java Sea. The tail piece has been transported to Pangkalan Bun and will be handed over to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) for further investigation.

The sonar equipments continued to detect more objects which are suspected to be the plane’s front section and detected pings suspected to be from the plane’s black box flight recorders near the location where the tail was found. Sea divers, vessels and helicopters were deployed to observe the focused searched area.

This morning, the seven remains which were recovered by BASARNAS yesterday (09/01) arrived in Surabaya and were transferred to Bhayangkara Hospital for identification.

Earlier today, the Minister of Transportation, Ignasius Jonan also visited the crisis center at East Java Region Police Headquarter to have a direct dialogue with the families of QZ 8501’s passengers. During the dialogue, several family members asked the Government to optimise SAR operations. Jonan assured the families that according to Indonesia’s President – Joko Widodo’s orders– SAR operations will not stop until all passengers are recovered and sent back to their families.

The Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they were able to identify two more remains known as: Susandhini Liman (female) and Justin Geovanni (male).

To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered a total of 48 remains of which 29 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 19 remains are still being identified.

AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

You may also obtain substantiated information only from authorised AirAsia social media accounts: Facebook www.facebook.com/AirAsia and Twitter www.twitter.com/AirAsia
Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 9, Day Thirteen

Air Asia updated its statement on Facebook

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 9th January 2015 7:00 PM (GMT+7)9 January 2015 at 13:00 SURABAYA, 9TH JANUARY 2015 – The SAR Operation led by The National SAR Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia continues today with marginally better weather and clear visibility for the sea divers to recover more remains and debris of QZ8501’s aircraft from the sea. Sea divers were also deployed to attach the floating bags on the aircraft’s tail piece in order to lift it out from water.Meanwhile, BASARNAS also assures that passengers search and evacuation are still the main priority and the black box search is still underway.  As of this morning, BASARNAS confirms to have recovered seven more remains in which the seven remains are already arrived at Pangkalan Bun. Meanwhile, passengers’ belongings found in the focused search area are already secured at the crisis center in East Java Region Police Headquarter, Surabaya. AirAsia Indonesia will secure other belongings found during the SAR operations and return them to eligible Next-Of-Kins following a strict screening process. The Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they were able to identify two more remains known as: Martinus Djomi (male) and Marwin Sholeh (male). To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered atotal of 48 remains of which 27 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and21 remains are still being identified. AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 8, Day Twelve

Attempts continue to retrieve the tail of the aircraft for AirAsia flight 8501.

Air Asia has updated its statement on Facebook

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 8th January 2015 8:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 8TH JANUARY 2015 – AirAsia Indonesia wishes to update on the latest developments on the search and evacuation process of QZ8501, lead by The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia.

The SAR team were able to continue the search operations this morning despite of the less than ideal weather conditions with some light rain and clouds. Sea divers were deployed to continue with the underwater search following the finding of QZ 8501’s tail yesterday.

BASARNAS said that the operation began at 7 am this morning and the sea divers have been observing the second  focus area where the tail part was found yesterday,in order to find where the black box is located. However, due to swift underwater currents and limited visibility, the divers were only able to find more debris which is presumed to be the interior part of the aircraft and baggage compartment.

The tail part will be the main focus of the SAR operation and BASARNAS said that once the black box is found, the SAR team plans to lift the tail piece out from the water with the permission from Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee(KNKT).

Meanwhile, BASARNAS today confirmed they recovered one more remain today from the search area.The remain has arrived at Juanda Airport, Surabaya this evening.

Separately, the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Police Department of Republic of Indonesia(DVI POLRI) today announced that they were able to identify one more remain,identified as:  Djoko Suseno (male).

To date, BASARNAS confirmed to have recovered a total of 41 remains of which 25 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 16 remains are still being identified.

AirAsia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleague son board QZ 8501.

January 7, Day Eleven

The tail of the A320 aircraft flying AirAsia flight 8501 has now been spotted by Search and Recovery teams, buried in the mud of the ocean bed. The black boxes have not yet been retrieved.

Readers should note that the process of retrieving data and voice recordings from Flight Data Recorders is not immediate. It will require investigators and experts present to assist the investigation to analyse the diagnostics recorded by the aircraft’s systems, which will detail the performance of the plane and flight conditions, right up to the moment of the crash. A transcript of conversations in the cockpit will also be drafted. That said, retrieving the Flight Data Recorders, and beginning the process of downloading and transcribing that information would be no-doubt be a significant step forward to discover the causes of this crash. A full investigation will also involve analysing the wreckage of the aircraft for any additional evidence, all of which will form a complete picture for investigators to begin the in-depth analysis which will ultimately lead to a final determination of root-cause.

Tony Fernandes addresses this development with followers on Twitter

AirAsia updates its Facebook page with a confirmation of reports that the tail of the aircraft was spotted by Search and Recovery teams. A total of 40 passenger’s bodies have now been recovered from the crash, and 24 of them have now been identified.

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 7th January 2015 8:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 7 JANUARY 2015 – The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia today confirmed that the SAR team retrieved a visual confirmation of the tail part of QZ 8501’s aircraft. The visual confirmation was made following underwater documentation of the aircraft’s tail and small wreckage, which showed the plane’s registration number (PK-AXC), captured by the SAR team’s sea divers.

The tail part was found in the additional focus search area (approx. 30 kms from the primary focus area). The SAR operation is still underway as the weather is reported to be clear with good underwater visibility for the divers to continue observation.

Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer AirAsia Indonesia commented, “We would like to extend our appreciation to all authorities and personnel that has been involved in the SAR operation. Today is the eleventh day and the latest finding is indeed an breakthrough for all of us who have been anxiously waiting for further development on the SAR operation.”

Following the latest finding, BASARNAS confirmed that the later SAR operation will be focused in this area to see if there are any trapped remains that must be recovered as well as the continued search for the black box.

Earlier today, Indonesian Navy Commander of the KRI Bung Tomo-357, Lieutenant Colonel Ashari Alamsyah officially handed over the debris and passengers belongings of QZ 8501’s flight that were found in the search area to the Deputy Commander of Indonesian Naval Aviation Unit, Colonel Yuwono at SAR Operation center in Juanda International Airport. As for the next phase, debris will be transferred to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) for further investigation.

This morning, BASARNAS also confirmed to have recovered one more remain from the search area. The remain is still in Pangkalan Bun, waiting to be transported to Surabaya for further identification process.

Meanwhile, the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they have identified 8 more remains of QZ 8501 passengers as: Ratri Sri Andriani (female),Rudy Soetjipto (male), Jou Christine Yuanita (female), Soetikno Sia (male), Ruth Natalia Made Puspita Sari (female), Nico Giovani (male), Indahju Liangsih (female), Stephanie Yulianto (female). AirAsia Indonesia officially handed over the remains to the respective families at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya this afternoon.

To date, BASARNAS confirmed to have recovered a total of 40 remains of which 24 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 16 remains are still being identified.

AirAsia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

 

January 6, Day Ten

AirAsia updates its Facebook page with a new statement on the progress of the search for the wreckage of QZ8501 and for the remains of passengers onboard the ill-fated flight.

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ 8501 Update (as of 6th January 2015 8:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 6TH JANUARY 2015 –AirAsia Indonesia wishes to provide an update regarding the latest development on the tenth day of search and rescue operation of QZ 8501 lead by The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia.The SAR operations continued around the focused area where the aircraft is most likely located. More than 40 vessels and 20 helicopters were deployed and focused to find the exact location of the plane’s wreckage as well as the black box.

The weather was cloudy with light rain and waves at 2–3 meters. However, the underwater current is still strong around 4-5 knots and the visibility is still limited for the sea divers to identify more findings from under the sea.

Indonesian National Armed Forces Commander, General Moeldoko visited the military base at Pangkalan Bun this afternoon, to inspect the search and evacuation operation which is still running today.

This evening, BASARNAS also confirmed to recover two more remains from the focused search area. The two remains are still in Pangkalan Bun, waiting to be transported to Surabaya for further identification process.

Meanwhile, the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they have identified 3 more remains of QZ 8501 passengers as: Indra Yulianto (male), Hindarto Halim (male), Jou Brian Youvito (male). AirAsia Indonesia officially handed over the remains to the respective families at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya this afternoon.

To date, BASARNAS confirmed to have recovered a total of 39 remains of which 16 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 23 remains are still being identified.

AirAsia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501. 

January 5, Day Nine

While bad weather continues to delay and complicate the recovery effort, 37 remains of passengers have been recovered so far and 13 victims identified. Some searchers have said they believe they’ve found the tail of the aircraft, where the ‘black boxes’ would be located, but this is not yet confirmed.

“I am not saying it’s the tail yet,” the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, told a news conference in Jakarta. “That is suspected. Now we are trying to confirm it.”–Reuters

“The seas haven’t been very friendly, but the black boxes have a 30-day life and they will be able to find them,” said Peter Marosszeky, a senior aviation research fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “It’s the weather that is causing the delay.”–Reuters

 

This video report from the Associated Press provides a good summary of the day’s Search and Rescue activities.  

The issue of the Airline’s permit to fly on that day continues to raise questions and cause problems. The transport ministry has also said that some airport officials and ATC have been moved to other roles during the accident investigation, though it gave no reason for the change, as Reuters reports.

AirAsia updated its statement on Facebook, but made no mention of the suspension of service on this route.

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ 8501 Update (as of 5th January 2015 8:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 5TH JANUARY 2015 – Weather was still the primary challenge for today’s SAR operation lead by The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) with reported waves of 4 – 5 meters.

The search area is currently focused in the east part of the Java Sea where more than 50 vessels, helicopters and more than 80 deep divers are observing the area.

BASARNAS confirmed to have recovered 3 more remains from the SAR operations held today and more debris found in the area such as passengers seats and oxygen masks. The three remains are already arrived in Surabaya today for identification.

Earlier this morning, Indonesian National Armed Force Commander, General Moeldoko, and Indonesian Police Chief, General Sutarman visited the crisis center at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya. Both Generals came to extend their condolences to the families and relatives of QZ 8501 passengers.

Indonesian National Armed Force Commander urged the families to be patient as the search and evacuation process is still underway supported by the navy, marines and air force. Families were also invited to join a ceremony to sow flowers around the search area, of which date will be announced later. As for this plan, Indonesian National Armed Force Commander will dedicate an aircraft, vessels and accommodation for the families.

The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) announced that they have identified 4 more remains of QZ 8501 passengers as: Tony Linaksita (male), Shiane Josal (female), Lim Yan Koen (male) and Yongki Jou (male). AirAsia Indonesia officially handed over the remains to the respective families at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya this afternoon.

To date, BASARNAS confirmed to have recovered 37 remains, of which 13 remains have been identified by the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) with 24 remains awaiting identification. Police Department confirmed that they have deployed a total of 229 DVI experts to help the identification process.

SAR efforts will continue tomorrow with waves forecasted to be at 2 – 3 meters. BASARNAS also confirms that 5 vessels have been deployed to focus on the blackbox search.

 AirAsia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI Polri.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 4, Day Eight

Bad weather continues to complicate the search for the remaining wreckage of AirAsia QZ8501, with divers forced to discontinue their search because of clouded sea conditions, as AFP reports.

“‘They managed to go down but the visibility at the sea bottom was zero, it was dark and the seabed was muddy, with currents of three to five knots,’ search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo told reporters, adding that heavy rain and big waves were continuing to hamper the rescue effort. ‘For that reason, the diving efforts must be temporarily stopped. We’ll try to deploy an ROV (remotely-operated underwater vehicle),’ he said.”–AFP

https://twitter.com/ANCALERTS/status/551678181128675329/photo/1

Five major parts of the aircraft have now been found in the search area for AirAsia QZ8501, off the island Borneo. The body of one additional victim was recovered.

While the “black box” has not yet been found, there is growing speculation on what part weather may have played in the crash, based on reports by Indonesia’s meteorological agency, the BMKG.

“‘Based on the available data received on the location of the aircraft’s last contact, the weather was the triggering factor behind the accident,” said the report. ‘The most probable weather phenomenon was icing which can cause engine damage due to a cooling process. This is just one of the possibilities that occurred based on the analysis of existing meteorological data.'”–AFP

Readers should note that speculation on root causes of accidents, without availability of the flight data recorders and reconstruction of the accident by air accident investigators is not the same as a final determination. Accidents of any kind, including air accidents, are most often caused by a combination of unfortunate circumstances and human factors in dealing with complications that arise. This is to say that there was no doubt bad weather in the area, just as there continues to be, and weather may have played an important role in what went ultimately wrong with this flight, but exactly how weather affected the aircraft and the pilot flying it cannot be determined based on meteorological data alone, regardless of the source.

We are human and human beings want answers, especially when horrible things happen. We will no doubt continue to see reports that try to address that need. But we should expect that, as more information comes in, finding answers will only become more complex. In fact, proper aircraft investigations can take many months to complete, and a final determination, conclusions and corresponding corrective action can take years.

Factors referenced here are part of a summarised reporting of the timeline of this tragedy. They do not imply any conclusions on my part as I am not qualified to reach conclusions on this matter. Expert investigators don’t yet have enough information to reach conclusions. I am only reporting the key events and will continue to do so.

Yesterday’s statement by the Indonesian transport ministry that AirAsia was not licensed to fly QZ8501 on Sunday, and the subsequent suspension of AirAsia Indonesia’s permit to operate additional flights, has caused confusion and raised questions including among ticket-holding passengers.

Image Captured from comments to AirAsia’s last statement on Facebook:

Comments on AirAsia's Facebook Page about question of permit tough fly and subsequent cancellation of flights./AirAsia
Comments on AirAsia’s Facebook Page about question of permit tough fly and subsequent cancellation of flights./AirAsia

The airline has said it will cooperate with the Indonesian transport ministry on the investigation but has made no formal statement to address these questions so far.

“But the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said it had granted permission for the airline’s Sunday flight.

“It was unclear how the airline, a unit of Malaysia-based AirAsia, had been able to fly without the necessary authorisation from its starting point.”–AFP

Tony Fernandes updated his followers on Twitter

While the spelling on this image might be regrettable, the sentiment is clear.

AirAsia Updated its statement on Facebook

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ 8501 Update (as of 4 January 2015 10:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 4TH JANUARY 2015 – The search and rescue efforts led by The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia continued this morning as weather conditions marginally improved with waves of 1.5 – 2 meters.

Entering the eighth day of the mission, the search operation area was expanded to the east part of the Java Sea following the underwater current forecast.

In addition, more than 80 deep sea divers have been deployed in order to get a visual confirmation on two large objects – suspected to be part of the aircraft’s fuselage – captured by the sonar device yesterday as well as the aircraft’s blackbox.

BASARNAS recovered four more remains today as well as debris such as the emergency exit window, luggage, passenger seats and survival kits, which are believed to be from the aircraft. The remains will be transported to Surabaya tonight for identification.

Meanwhile in Surabaya, The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today identified three remains of QZ 8501 guests as Wismoyo Ari Prambudi (male), Jie Stevie Gunawan (female), and Juanita Limantara (female). Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer AirAsia Indonesia handed over the three remains to the respective families this afternoon.

To date, BASARNAS confirmed to have recovered 34 remains, of which nine remains have been identified by the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) with 25 remains awaiting identification. As many as seven DVI experts from Singapore have also arrived today to support the identification process. A number of DVI experts from South Korea and Australia will also support DVI POLRI to identify the victims tomorrow.

SAR efforts will continue tomorrow with waves forecasted to be at 2 – 2.5 meters. The priority of the search is now on deep sea diving in the area where the aircraft body is said to be located. BASARNAS also confirms that the mission will be be supported by China that will be focusing on the blackbox search.

AirAsia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI Polri.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 3, Day Seven

AirAsia issues an updated statement on its Facebook page

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 Update (as of 3 January 2015 8:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 3rd JANUARY 2015 – Entering the seventh day of search and rescue mission, the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia confirms that they have recovered 30 remains from the search area.

The search process is still underway with the Russian SAR team joining the mission, strengthening the operation led by BASARNAS. Weather in the SAR area for tomorrow (Sunday) is forecasted to be much better with waves likely to decrease and remain at 2-3 metres. The officials have also announced that sonar equipment detected two large objects on the ocean floor which may be the wreckage of flight QZ 8501.

The 12 remains consisting of 9 male and 3 female arrived today at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya to undergo the identification process.

In addition, the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today confirmed two remains of QZ 8501 passengers which were identified as Hendra Gunawan Syawal (male) and The Meiji Thejakusuma (female). The remains were handed over earlier today at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya by Chief Executive Officer AirAsia Indonesia, Sunu Widyatmoko.

To date, DVI POLRI has identified a total of six passengers while the 24 remaining remains are still being identified. DVI POLRI also confirms that the remains identification process will be supported by DVI experts from Singapore and South Korea.

AirAsia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI Polri.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.


Indonesian weather agency BMKG suggests that the aircraft of flight QZ8501 likely flew into a severe storm
which contributed to the crash, the BBC reports.

“From our data it looks like the last location of the plane had very bad weather and it was the biggest factor behind the crash,” said Professor Edvin Aldrian, head of research at BMKG.

He said there was evidence of extremely icy conditions at the plane’s altitude, which can “stall the engines of the plane and freeze and damage the plane’s machinery.”–BBC

An aerodynamic stall is suspected.  Indonesian authorities have question whether the pilot followed correct weather report procedures, according to Reuters.

Search teams using sonar have found “two large objects” and an underwater vehicle was deployed to the site. Officials suspect that the bodies of many passengers may be in the remains of the fuselage.

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.”–BBC

AirAsia didn’t have official permission to fly that day.

There are reports by the Wall Street Journal, BBC, and Reuters, stating that AirAsia QZ8501 was flying outside the scope of its approved schedule for service, and “infringing the terms of its license for the route.” The airline evidently had permission to fly the route four days a week, but not on the Sunday of the crash.

“The Indonesian authorities are suspending the company’s flights on this route with immediate effect pending an investigation, a transport ministry statement said.

Sunu Widyatmoko, chief executive of AirAsia’s Indonesian arm, said the company will “fully corporate” with the inquiry.”–BBC

and

“Djoko Murdjatmodjo, acting director general of air transportation, said on Saturday that the transport ministry would investigate all AirAsia schedules from Monday.

“We are going to investigate all AirAsia flight schedules. Hopefully we can start on next Monday. We won’t focus on licences, just schedules,” he said. “It is possible AirAsia’s license in Indonesia might be revoked,” he added, stressing that was only one possibility.

“Sunu Widyatmoko, Indonesia AirAsia chief, told reporters the airline, 49-percent owned by Malaysia-based AirAsia, would cooperate with the inquiry.

“The government has suspended our flights from Surabaya to Singapore and back,” he said. “They are doing the evaluation process. AirAsia will cooperate fully with the evaluation.”–Reuters

 

January 2, Day Six

Weather continues to complicate the search and recovery efforts for QZ8501. The Associated Press reports that search crews have now recovered a total of 30 bodies, though the Jakarta Post/ANN lists the body count at 22 as of Friday evening, local time.

“An Indonesian navy official says five of them were found still strapped in their seats.”–AP

“‘US navy UH60 Black Hawk helicopters delivered eight bodies this afternoon and four more are still on the Sampson,’ said National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) operational director First Marshal SB Supriyadi on Friday as quoted by Antara news agency.”–ANN

The search area was extended and a “most probable area” for the wreckage defined.

French investigators from the Bureau d’Enquȇtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA) have been deployed to aid the investigation. Because the aircraft is made by Airbus, Toulouse, it falls under BEA jurisdiction to assist.

“During the morning of January 2nd, local time, a ship will be taking the investigators to the search area, with detection equipment including hydrophones, in order to try to locate the acoustic beacons from the two flight recorders,” BEA said in a statement.

Tony Fernandes updated details of the search on Twitter

The airline updated its statement on Facebook

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ 8501 Update (as of 2 January 2015 21:00 PM (GMT+7)2 January 2015 at 15:31
SURABAYA, 2nd JANUARY 2015 – The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today confirmed that the remains of three more passengers on board QZ 8501 were identified as Grayson Herbert Linaksita (male), Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi (female), and Kevin Alexander Sutjipto (male).

The handover of the remains from AirAsia to the families took place earlier today at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya.

Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi was one of the flight attendants on board QZ 8501, and has been with AirAsia Indonesia since 28 January 2013. Khairunisa was well known for her professionalism as well as dedication at work.

Group CEO of AirAsia, Tony Fernandes together with Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of AirAsia Berhad, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and CEO of AirAsia Indonesia, Sunu Widyatmoko flew to Palembang today to officially handover the remain of Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi to her family and attended her burial.

To date, DVI POLRI team has identified four remains of QZ 8501 passengers. A total of twenty two remains of QZ 8501 passengers have been recovered.

AirAsia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking for progress on the search and evacuation of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from the National Search and Rescue Agency.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

January 1, Day Five

Two additional bodies of occupants on QZ8501 were recovered from the sea today, bringing the total number to nine.

The first identified victim of the crash of has been confirmed as Hayati Lutfiah Hamid, 49, an AirAsia flight attendant. She was laid to rest in Surabaya, east Java today.

AirAsia released a statement this evening on Facebook.

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 Update (as of 1 January 2015 8:00 PM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 1st JANUARY 2015 – AirAsia Indonesia wishes to update on the development of the on-going search and rescue mission of flight QZ8501.

The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today confirmed that the remains of one passenger on board QZ 8501 was identified as Hayati Luthfi Hamid (female). The confirmation was announced upon matching forensic and
ante-mortem tests with the DNA evidence submitted by the families.

Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer AirAsia Indonesia handed the remains to her family at a ceremony held at Bhayangkara Hospital,
Surabaya.

Sunu said, “On behalf of everyone at AirAsia, we extend our profound condolences to the family and friends of late Hayati Luthfi

Hamid. AirAsia will support everything that the family may need during these difficult times.”

Earlier today, BASARNAS also confirmed that a total of six out of seven remains of QZ 8501 passengers which were recovered in Karimata
Strait had been transported in Bhayangkara Hospital this morning for immediate identification by Disaster Victim Identificiation Police
Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI).

DVI team are now working on thorough identification which includes DNA check and forensics examination.

Meanwhile, the search and rescue effort still continues. Indonesian Minister of Transportation has deployed 5 additional vessels to the searching area. To date, there are more than 90 vessels and aircraft from numerous countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, United States, involved in the operation.

Further information will be released as soon as it becomes available.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ8501.

Tony Fernandes also Tweeted his hopes that reports of the aircraft being found were true.

Severe weather and rough seas continue to hamper the search.

December 31, Day Four

Information previously disclosed on the number of bodies recovered from the sea proved inaccurate. In total, seven bodies have now been recovered.

Weather is once again playing a factor in the recovery. In a press conference, Tony Fernandes explained that bad weather is complicating the search and clarified that objects suspected to be wreckage of QZ8501 have only been identified visually, not with sonar as reported.

Tony Fernandes continued to update followers on Twitter, sharing his strong emotions at this difficult time.

The search for bodies and for the flight data recorders continues, but stormy weather and strong tides making conditions in the Java Sea difficult, the BBC reports.

“Officials said heavy rain, strong winds and waves of up to 3m (10ft) had forced them to suspend the air operation, though ships already in place were continuing the search.”

Though searchers have identified what they believe to be large parts of the plane, strong currents are moving the wreckage, AP Reports.

“It seems all the wreckage found has drifted more than 50 kilometers from yesterday’s location,” said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun on Borneo island, the closest town to the site. “We are expecting those bodies will end up on beaches.”

Family members have been asked to supply DNA samples to identify the bodies of passengers recovered from the sea. There will be a public memorial this Wednesday evening in Surabaya, and all New Year’s celebrations were cancelled.

“Now we are focused on praying for the victims,” said Soekarwo, who uses one name like many Indonesians. “This is a big tragedy for Indonesia and we will do our best for the victims and their families.”

December 30, Day Three

Airbus expresses its condolences, and commits to providing technical information required for investigation.

The aircraft manufacturer’s updated statement on the accident reads:

30 December 2014

Airbus has been informed by the Indonesian authorities that the accident site of flight QZ 8501 has been located.

The company wishes to offer the sincere sympathies of its management and staff to all those who have been affected by the loss of this aircraft.

In line with international convention, the official investigation into this accident is being led by the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), which will be supported by relevant international safety agencies. These include the French safety investigation authority BEA, which is an accredited party representing the state of design and manufacture of the aircraft.

The release of all further information related to the progress of the investigation and the publication of findings will be undertaken by the NTSC.

With safety as its prime concern, Airbus reaffirms its full commitment to provide all necessary technical assistance to the investigation authorities in order to establish the cause of this tragic accident.

Air Asia sends Tweet expressing the company’s sorrow over the fate of those onboard QZ8501, and introduces a hashtag #togetherwestand to mark condolences.

An AirAsia flight Z2272 overshot the runway at Kalibo International Airport, Philippines. Passengers were evacuated using the aircraft’s slides and there were no reported injuries.

AirAsia Updates Statement on its Facebook Page

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 Update (as of 30 December 2014 18:00 PM (GMT+7)

AIRASIA INDONESIA FLIGHT QZ8501

AS OF 30 DECEMBER 2014 18:00 PM LT (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 30TH DECEMBER 2014 – AirAsia Indonesia regrets to inform that The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) today confirmed that the debris found earlier today is indeed from QZ8501, the flight that had lost contact with air traffic control on the morning of 28th.

The debris of the aircraft was found in the Karimata Strait around 110 nautical miles south west from Pangkalan Bun. The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots, 4 cabin crews and one engineer.

At the present time, search and rescue operations are still in progress and further investigation of the debris found at the location is still underway. AirAsia Indonesia employees have been sent to the site and will be fully cooperating with BASARNAS, National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), and relevant authorities on the investigation.

Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Indonesia said: “We are sorry to be here today under these tragic circumstances. We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those on board QZ8501. Our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues.”

Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia added: “I am absolutely devastated. This is a very difficult moment for all of us at AirAsia as we await further developments of the search and rescue operations but our first priority now is the wellbeing of the family members of those onboard QZ8501.”

AirAsia Indonesia will be 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. Counsellors, religious and spiritual personnel have also been invited to the family center to provide any necessary services.

Further information will be released as soon as it becomes available. An emergency call centre has been established and available for families seeking information. Family members of QZ8501, please contact:

Malaysia: +60 3 21795959

Indonesia: +62 2129270811

Singapore: +65 63077688

Korea: 007 98142069940

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ8501.

The process of recovery begins. 

Changi Airport Offers Help

https://twitter.com/changiairport/status/549854558449451008

Tony Fernandes Tweets his reaction to news of debris found.

Debris found appears to be from missing AirAsia QZ8501

Here are the main points from the conference with the head of the Indonesian search and rescue agency, Bambang Sulistyo, as reported by the BBC

(All times are local)

  • 11:07 Indonesian Air Force Hercules found floating debris
  • 12:50 Indonesian Air Force Hercules found a shadow underwater, it is alleged to portray the shape of a plane
  • 13:25 Search team found a floating object which is alleged to be the body of a passenger
  • 13:50 Navy ship found an object assumed to be emergency exit door
  • 14:00 Navy ship was deployed to evacuate the assumed emergency exit door

December 29, Day Two

Tony Fernandes shares emotional Tweets about his meetings with AirAsia staff and family members of crew. 

Questions of Progress on Aircraft Tracking Technology Continue

The Wall Street Journal reports that AirAsia was in the process of upgrading its flight tracking technology on aircraft, as part of its in-flight connectivity installations.

Mashable covers the ongoing debate in the industry on what new flight tracking technology can be installed, how, and when.

I’ve covered developments in flight tracking and emergency flight data transmission on Flight Chic and published several articles in industry press this year. These articles provide a timeline of developments so far:

Hawaiian Airlines First to Commit to New Satellite Safety and Aircraft Tracking System, Skift, September 2014

The State of Airline Flight Tracking 6 Months After the Vanishing of MH3701, Skift, September 2014

FLYHT Announces L-3 AFIRS 228S Aviation Recorders Obtain Airbus A320 Certification, July 2014

SITA Enters the Flight Tracking Systems Business, Skift, June 2014

Aviation Industry Pursuing Flight Tracking Options After Malaysia Airlines Incident, Skift, June 2014

The Small Canadian Airline That Already Has the Flight-Tracking System of the Future, Skift, May 2014

Beyond the Black Box: Fixing Aviation’s Broken Communication Systems, Skift, March 2014

UK on Black Box Streaming: Money Drives Delay, The Runway Girl Network, March 2014

The Indonesian Government asked for US Assistance with the ongoing search for QZ8501, Reuters reports.

“We stand ready to assist in any way possible,” Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said in a statement.

A second day of searching for QZ8501 draws to a close. Though there were initial reports of sightings of debris and possible oil slick, these were later said to have no connection to the missing aircraft. A BBC report indicates that head of Indonesia’s search-and-rescue agency said the aircraft is likely to be at the bottom of the sea.

A report on French aviation site AirInfo, states that QZ8501 was not equipped with ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System), citing GE Spokesperson Rick Kennedy as its source. Flight Chic reached out to Airbus for confirmation and for additional information on the emergency equipment on this aircraft, but the aircraft manufacturer has indicated it is not in a position to address questions beyond its official statement at this time, while the investigation of the incident is still ongoing.

As Phil Derner, Jr., of NYC Aviation points out, weather is a factor hampering the search.

Debris spotted in area where plane lost contact is said not to be from AirAsia QZ8501, according to Channel News Asia

AirAsia Founder and CEO Tony Fernandes Tweeted his thanks to the Indonesian people for their support and reflected pride in the professionalism of his team during this difficult time. 

AirAsia issued an Updated statement on Facebook

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 Update (as of 29 December 2014 10.30 AM (GMT+7)

SURABAYA, 29TH DECEMBER 2014 – AirAsia Indonesia has received confirmation from The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) that an international search and rescue mission from Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia has been mobilized in the search of flight QZ8501. The mission in Surabaya has resumed today at 06.00 AM LT (GMT+7). 

AirAsia Indonesia continue to support these efforts and has been actively cooperating with the search and rescue authorities.

AirAsia Indonesia’s primary focus remains on the families and Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Indonesia is currently stationed at the family centre in Surabaya. We have been keeping the families updated on the search and rescue efforts as well as provide emotional support. Another group of AirAsia officials are providing the same to the families based in Singapore.

An emergency call centre has been established and available for families seeking information. The number is+622129270811 or 031-8690855 or 031-2986790(Surabaya).

We will release further information as soon as it becomes available and our thoughts and prayers are with those on board QZ8501.

Note to Editors: We ask that members of the news media do not call the AirAsia Emergency Call Centre, as this line is reserved for family members seeking information about those who may have been on board.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion has been deployed from the northern city of Darwin to join the search operation for QZ8501, AFP reports.

“The RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft has a well proven capability in search and rescue and carries maritime search radar coupled with infra-red and electro-optical sensors to support the visual observation capabilities provided by its highly trained crew,” said Chief of defence Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.

The search for QZ8501 has resumed, the BBC reports, citing an Indonesian official. The Telegraph reports that rescuers from Indonesia and Singapore were preparing to resume their search for the missing aircraft. AFP reports with details on the planned search area from an Indonesian official.

“We have resumed the search for the missing AirAsia plane at 6:00 am. We are heading to east Belitung island,” deputy operations chief of the national search and rescue agency Tatang Zainuddin told AFP.

28 December, Day 1

Weather as a factor

While too little is known to reach conclusions on the fate of QZ8501, Mashable published an interesting report on how weather conditions might have affected the flight.

Phil Derner Jr., of NYC Aviation shared a report published this August on how ATC and pilots deal with severe weather conditions.

AirAsia issued an updated statement on Facebook

[Updated statement] QZ8501 (as at 10:35pm, GMT+7)28 December 2014 at 16:34
Earlier in Surabaya, the management of AirAsia along with the Governor of East Java, National Search and Rescue Agency of Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS), Airport Authority of Indonesia, Airport Operator (Angkasa Pura I) met with the members of the families to update them on the latest developments and reconfirmed their commitment to providing assistance in every possible way.

Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO of AirAsia Indonesia said, “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this incident. We are cooperating with the relevant authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident. In the meantime, our main priority is keeping the families of our passengers and colleagues informed on the latest developments.”

“We will do everything possible to support them as the investigation continues and have already mobilized a support team to help take care of their immediate needs, including accommodation and travel arrangements. A briefing center has also been set up in Surabaya for the families.”

For the families in Singapore, there is also an emergency briefing room at Changi International Airport Terminal Two, where AirAsia Indonesia will be providing regular updates.

We have also established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for those seeking information about relatives or friends who may have been on board the flight. The number is +622129270811.

At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted, under the guidance of National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS). AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.

The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew and one engineer on board.

The captain in command had a total of 20,537 flying hours of which, 6,100 flying hours were with AirAsia Indonesia on the Airbus A320. The first office officer had a total of 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia.

We will release further information as soon as it becomes available and our thoughts and prayers are with those on board QZ8501.
Note to Editors: We ask that members of the news media do not call the AirAsia Emergency Call Centre, as this line is reserved for family members seeking information about those who may have been on board. For media enquiries please call +622129270831.

 

According to reports by the BBC and AFP, search efforts for missing QZ8501 have been suspended for the night.

Indonesia Transport Ministry Official, Hadi Mustafa told AFP: “We ended at 17:30 (10:30 GMT) because it was getting dark.” He added: “The weather was also not too good as it was getting really cloudy. Tomorrow we will begin at 7 am, or even earlier than that if the weather is good.”

The Associated Press clarified that the air search was suspended, but that boats are still in the area searching for signs of AirAsia QZ8501.

Search and Recovery Update (via the Wall Street Journal)

Indonesia is deploying eight ships, two helicopters and three airplanes to search for the missing plane in the Bangka-Belitung waters. Bangka and Belitung are two islands east of Sumatra and the search currently seems to be concentrating more there. Two of the deployed Indonesian vessels have reached the waters around the two islands and are facing high swells. In addition, it is quickly getting darker as night falls.

Singapore has deployed one C130 aircraft and Malaysia has sent three vessels and one plane. Later Sunday, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said no debris had been found so far.

Air Asia Updates Statement on Facebook

[Updated statement] QZ8501 (as at 6:54pm, GMT+8)

28 December 2014 at 11:57

AirAsia Indonesia would like to issue a correction on the nationality breakdown of passenger and crew on board QZ8501 as follows:

Nationalities of passengers:

1 Singapore

1 Malaysia

3 South Korea

1 United Kingdom

149 Indonesia

Nationalities of crew:

1 France

6 Indonesia

AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, www.airasia.com.

Tweet from Tony Fernandes

Updates on weather conditions and possible effects on this aircraft

AirAsia issued the following statement on its Facebook Page

[News Update] AIRASIA INDONESIA FLIGHT QZ8501

AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24hrs this morning.

At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available.

The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC.

 At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service.

AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801.

 AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, www.airasia.com.

Note to Editors: We ask that members of the news media do not call the AirAsia Emergency Call Centre, as this line is reserved for family members seeking information about those who may have been on board.  

The airline’s CEO, Tony Fernandes has gone to Surabaya.

Airbus has issued this statement with details on the aircraft:

AIRASIA INDONESIA FLIGHT QZ 8501

Airbus regrets to confirm that an A320-200 operated by AirAsia Indonesia lost contact with air traffic control this morning, 28th December 2014. The aircraft was operating a scheduled service, Flight QZ 8501, from Surabaya to Singapore.

The aircraft involved is MSN (Manufacturer Serial Number) 3648, registered as PK-AXC and was delivered to AirAsia from the production line in October 2008. Powered by CFM 56-5B engines, the aircraft had accumulated approximately 23,000 flight hours in some 13,600 flights. At this time no further factual information is available.
In line with the ICAO Annex 13 international convention, Airbus will provide full assistance to the French safety investigation authority, BEA, and to the authorities in charge of the investigation.

The Airbus A320-200 is a twin-engine single-aisle aircraft seating up to 180 passengers in a single-class configuration. The first A320 entered service in March 1988. By the end of November 2014, over 6000 A320 Family aircraft were in service with over 300 operators. To date, the entire fleet has accumulated some 154 million flight hours in some 85 million flights.

Airbus will make further factual information available as soon as the details have been confirmed and cleared by the authorities.
The thoughts of the Airbus management and staff are with all those affected by Flight QZ 8501.

Prior to the aircraft’s disappearance, the pilot requested a deviation due to severe weather enroute.

https://twitter.com/_RobertoMartin/status/549101208833884160

Flightradar24 has released the following map:

The following graphic from themalayonline.com, shared by @controladores, provides a timeline for QZ8501 and limited details on the 162 passengers onboard.  

There is also a dedicated page of curated reports about AirAsia QZ8501 on the Flight Chic RebelMouse Newsfeed.

 

 

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