The black box for the fated AirAsia Flight QZ8501 has been retrieved. The news comes just days after part of the wreckage has ow finally located. There is now hope that officials will understand more about the crash that happened on December 28, 2014.
Three days after Christmas, the world was shocked by another Malaysian plane disappearing. This time it was an AirAsia flight that usually has a very good track record for safety. Initially, all that was known was that air traffic control lost contact with the flight two hours into it, after the flight asked to change flight path.
The pilot initially asked to change route due to bad weather. When air traffic control approved that, a later request was one that they had to discuss. The pilot wanted to increase altitude to 38,000 feet, but there was another airliner at that height within the same area. Air traffic control took a few minutes to agree to an increase in altitude to 34,000 feet.
Air traffic control never knew whether the pilot received the agreed height. Within those few moments, the plane dropped off radar. Nobody has known what happened exactly, but there is hope now. The black box records everything about the plane, and should tell officials the altitude of flight and the condition of the engine at the time of the crash.
The AirAsia Flight QZ8501 black box was retrieved Monday morning. However, it was initially located over the weekend. Poor weather meant that divers could not get into the water to retrieve it. The tail end of the wreckage was found and was pulled out of the water. When the black box was not there, the divers had to go in to find it. Weather only cleared up this morning enough to make it safe.
The retrieval of the black box has also meant the second part may have been located. This is the voice record from the cockpit, and will have all the conversations from the cockpit at the time of the incident. It will hopefully help determine the last moments of the flight from the pilot’s perspective.
Understanding the reason for the crash may help the families of the AirAsia victims. It will bring closure, however there is still the question of retrieving bodies. So far, the fuselage has not been located, and that is where most of the bodies are expected to be. A small number of the 162 passengers have so far been found in the waters.
The AirAsia Flight QZ8501 went missing on December 28. Searchers went out immediately, but bad weather made it difficult to locate anything. The search radius was initially on just four sections of the Java Sea, but was later extended to 13 sections in the hope of finding the wreckage. While some wreckage and bodies were found floating, it was only at the weekend that the dings from the black box were picked up.
It is possible that the plane exploded on impact with the water. That will be something the black box of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501, which has now been retrieved, will be able to tell.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Kentaro IEMOTO – Flickr License