As the searching operation continues for the wreck of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 and its black box flight recorders, Indonesian authorities have found two objects at roughly 30-metres depth, thanks primarily to underwater ROV (remote operating vehicles). So far, no survivors have been found from the crash, which happened about 40 minutes after the plane took off from Indonesia’s Surabaya to Singapore.
Just like previous two Malaysian Airlines incidents, where one went missing till today (Flight MH370) and another shot down (Flight MH17), the actual cause is unknown on how and why Flight QZ8501, carrying 162 passengers and crew, crashed into the Java Sea. It was reported that minutes before disappearing from radar, the pilot told air traffic control he was approaching a storm, but was denied permission to climb above it because of heavy air traffic.
While so-called experts are debating on theories, weather is the primary culprit, at least for now. One interesting theory has it that the pilot managed to land the plane successfully on the ocean, before it was overwhelmed by waves and sank. That explains why the emergency locator transmitters fitted to the plane which should go off in the event of a strong impact, never triggered. Furthermore, the captain was an experience pilot.
Other experts who got hold of leaked figures showed the plane climbed at a virtually unprecedented rate of 6000-ft to 9000-ft per minute, something which only fighter jet could achieve. Hence the theory that the plane was batted from the skies by immensely powerful winds that caused it to rise up at the same rate as a fighter jet, before dropping almost vertically into the ocean.
Regardless of how Flight QZ8501 ended up at the bottom of the ocean, the fate of the passengers were made known to their immediate family members the fastest as compared to MH370 and MH17. Well, at least this spare them the agony of physical and mental torture. As Malaysians and Indonesians come to the reality of the ill-fated AirAsia Airbus and accept the fate of the passengers and crew, the blame game seems to have started.
In a latest twist, Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesman J.A. Barata drops a bombshell – AirAsia didn’t have permission to fly the route on day of crash. Mr Barata claimed the airline was only permitted to fly the route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. As AirAsia has committed a violation of the route that has been given to them, AirAsia’s flights from Surabaya to Singapore had subsequently been suspended on Friday.
Apparently, AirAsia used to have permission to fly the route daily, but the number of slots was cut for the period Oct. 26 to March 28 because the country was nearing its quota for flying people to Singapore. For now, the Indonesian ministry is investigating why AirAsia was flying the route outside its permitted schedule. Hence, effective Jan 2, 2015, the licence of Surabaya-Singapore (return) route to Indonesia AirAsia is temporarily frozen.
Perhaps the correct question for the Indonesian authorities is this: Why Flight QZ8501 was cleared by Indonesian air traffic controllers to take off from Surabaya, if indeed AirAsia was not allowed to fly in the first place? Surely AirAsia’s Airbus was not a fighter jet which could violate Indonesian air space as and when they like, right? Obviously, the Indonesian authorities are trying to push the blame onto the airline, without taking any responsibility.
Hadi Mustofa Djuraid, an Indonesian transport ministry official, also told reporters on Friday that authorities were investigating the possibility that the pilot did not ask for a weather report from the meteorological agency at the time of take-off. But, the Indonesian captain, a former air force fighter pilot who had 6,100 flying hours on the A320 should know better than to fly without knowing the weather conditions. Another attempt to blame the pilot, who couldn’t defend himself?
No matter how you look at it, the blame games by the Indonesian authorities do not explain and has absolutely no material to determine the cause of the tragedy. It will be a totally different scenario altogether if the flight didn’t have clearance to fly due to the weather conditions, but it took off anyway. At best, this is just permission issue which is related to commercial aspect. Still, Flight QZ8501 took off after Indonesian air traffic controllers’ clearance.
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