The search for the debris of the ill-fated AirAsia plane, which had gone missing a few days back was after Indonesian rescuers found several bodies and debris floating in shallow waters off the coast of Borneo. However, 2-3 metres high waves and winds prevented the divers from searching the crash zone for the sunken remains of Flight QZ8501, which had 162 people on board when it vanished during its flight from the Surabaya to Singapore.
Searchers personnel discovered three bodies including a flight attendant wearing the AirAsia uniform, bringing the total to six so far. Experts believe that weather permitting, the fuselage may be easily found by divers. Some fully clothed bodies could also indicate the plane was intact when it hit the waters and support the theory that the Airbus A320-200 suffered an aerodynamic stall. Fully clothed bodies could also indicate the plane was intact when it hit the water and support a theory that the Airbus A320-200 suffered an aerodynamic stall and plunged into the sea.
The fact that the debris appears fairly contained suggests that the aircraft broke up when it hit the waters. The plane had lost contact with air traffic control early on Sunday during bad weather. The plane was carrying mostly Indonesians. AirAsia would pay an immediate advance of money to relatives, many of whom collapsed in grief when they saw the television pictures of debris and a body. The US destroyer USS Sampson and combat ship USS Fort Worth were awaiting instructions from the Indonesian search command on the recovery operation. The Singapore government is also sending two underwater beacon detectors to pick up pings from the black boxes, which contain cockpit voice and flight data recorders. Already, about 30 ships and 21 aircraft from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the United States are involved in the search.
The plane, which did not issue a distress signal, disappeared after its pilot could not get permission to fly higher due to bad weather. At the time of its disappearance, it was travelling at 32,000 feet (9,753 metres) and had requested earlier to fly at 38,000 feet. When the air traffic controllers granted permission for 34,000 feet altitude a little later, they received no response from the aircraft. Investigators were focusing initially on whether the crew took too long to request permission to climb, or could have ascended on their own initiative earlier.
Three air disasters involving Malaysian-affiliated carriers this year have shaken confidence in the aviation industry and spooked travellers across the region. Earlier this year, the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 had gone missing in March while on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew. On July 17, its Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by pro-independence rebels, killing all 298 people on board.