Report due on AirAsia crash

The Airbus A320: Source: Wikimedia

Indonesia is set to release the findings of its probe into last year’s Indonesia AirAsia plane crash, the first official account to the relatives of the 162 passengers who died.

The Airbus A320 fell into the Java Sea on December 28 last year, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s second-largest city of Surabaya on Java to Singapore.

It is one of a string of aviation disasters to hit the giant archipelago where the rapid growth in air transport has pressurised the country’s airports and infrastructure.

The report, to be released on Tuesday, is anticipated to offer an official explanation of why flight QZ8501 disappeared from radar coverage. The Indonesian Transportation Safety Committee refused to publish its preliminary findings.

It is already known that the French first officer was at the controls just before the accident and a stall warning was heard in the cockpit, indicating that the plane had lost lift.

The report is expected to explain whether any of the airplane’s safety systems were malfunctioning and how the pilots responded.

Sources said investigators were examining maintenance records.

It is alleged that one of the pilots attempted to cut off power to the faulty computer by pulling circuit breakers, something that is not usually allowed in flight.

Two sources claim that the captain appeared to have left his seat at the time of the crash but Indonesian investigators said there was no evidence for this or that power had been disconnected.

The report is not intended to attribute responsibility but to make recommendations to avoid similar accidents.

AirAsia Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said he would cooperate with the probe, adding that an internal review of its fleet’s systems had followed the crash.

A military cargo aircraft crashed in an urban area in northern Sumatra in July, killing over 140 people and prompting an air force review into its ageing fleet.

Regulators in the European Union, where a majority of Indonesia’s airlines are banned from flying due to concerns about safety regulation, will probably be waiting to study the report.

Indonesia AirAsia and national airline Garuda are not on the EU “blacklist”.

Meanwhile, almost 100 people were rescued when a ferry sailing toward Singapore from Batam in Indonesia hit an obstacle and started to sink.

Ferry operator Batamfast sent out two other ferries to rescue all 90 passengers and seven crew and take them back to Batam, the Singapore port authority announced.

A passenger, Chella Ho, told Channel News Asia that the Sea Prince started sinking slowly in deep water and passengers evacuated on to two inflatable boats which also sank from overloading.

Source 1

Source 2