Divers retrieve crashed AirAsia jet’s cockpit voice recorder

admin   •   January 13, 2015   •   1932

The flight data recorder of AirAsia QZ8501 is transferred to another container at the airbase in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan January 12, 2015.  CREDIT: REUTERS/DARREN WHITESIDE

The flight data recorder of AirAsia QZ8501 is transferred to another container at the airbase in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan January 12, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/DARREN WHITESIDE

(Reuters) – Divers retrieved the cockpit voice recorder from the wreck of an AirAsia passenger jet on Tuesday, an Indonesian investigator told Reuters, a key step towards determining the cause of the crash that killed 162 people.

Indonesia AirAsia’s Flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control in bad weather 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.

The cockpit voice recorder, which retains the last two hours of conversation between the pilots and with air traffic controllers, was found close to where the flight data recorder was recovered from the bottom of the Java Sea on Monday.

When asked if the so-called black box was found, Santoso Sayogo, an investigator at the National Transportation Safety Committee, told Reuters: “We can confirm”.

Together the black boxes, which are actually orange, contain a wealth of data that will be crucial for investigators piecing together the sequence of events that led to the Airbus A320-200 plunging into the sea.

The cockpit voice recorder was on board an Indonesian navy vessel and expected to be sent to the capital, Jakarta, for analysis, MetroTV said, quoting a transport official.

CALMER WEATHER

Investigators may need up to a month to get a complete reading of the data.

The AirAsia group’s first fatal accident took place more than two weeks ago, but wind, high waves and strong currents have slowed efforts to recover bodies and wreckage from the shallow waters off Borneo island.

Dozens of Indonesian navy divers took advantage of calmer weather this week to retrieve the black boxes and now hope to find the fuselage of the Airbus.

Forty-eight bodies have been plucked from the Java Sea and brought to Surabaya for identification. Searchers believe more bodies will be found in the plane’s fuselage.

“Our main task is to find the victims,” Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters before heading to Surabaya to meet families of the victims.

“Even if both (black boxes) are found, it doesn’t mean that our operation is over.”

Relatives of the victims have urged the authorities to make finding the remains of their loved ones the priority.

“Even if the search has to last for a month, we are still hoping to find them,” said Lioni, who lost four family members in the plane crash. “If they can find even one (of my family members), we would feel a little bit relieved.”

(Additional reporting by Fergus Jensen and Eveline Danubrata in JAKARTA, Kanupriya Kapoor in PANGKALAN BUN, and Fransiska Nangoy in SURABAYA; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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Gov’t, private sectors unite to bring over 10,000 foreign tourists to NAIA, Clark Int’l Airport

Maris Federez   •   March 25, 2020

Passengers rush to catch last plane out amid lockdown in the Philippines (19 March 2020)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT), together with several government agencies and various domestic airlines, have joined forces to ferry more than 10,000 foreign tourists from different parts of the country to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

This measure is aimed at assisting these foreign tourists who were stranded in the country due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine to be able to go back to their respective countries.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this will help lessen the stranded tourists in the various islands in the country.

“The Department of Tourism has been doing everything within its resources to ease the congestion in the different regions by facilitating the movement of foreign tourists stranded in the different islands of the country,” Puyat said in a statement.

Over the weekend, 7,915 tourists were brought to the two airports through the sweeper flights of different domestic airlines, such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and Air Swift, as well as chartered flights.

DOT regional offices also assisted the stranded tourists in Luzon via land transport.

The Philippine Coast Guard, on the other hand, helped ferry those in Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, and Cebu through inter-island vessels.

Shuttle services and hotel accommodations were arranged for several stranded tourists who were also given free foods and hygienic items while waiting for their flights at the NAIA.

Other sweeper flights were also used for those in Iloilo, Tacloban, and Cagayan de Oro.

Three more sweeper flights are also being prepared for the others in Davao and Puerto Princesa to be transported on Thursday (March 26).

Two sweeper flights are also scheduled for tourists on Boracay island for transportation on Thursday, and four more over the weekend. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

CAAP: 3 major airlines commit to aid evacuation of Filipinos from Middle East

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said on Friday that three airlines in the country have pledged their commitment to provide aid to Filipino workers in the Middle East who may be repatriated should tensions escalate between the United States and Iran.

In a statement, CAAP director general Jim Sydiongco identified these airlines as Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Air Asia.

“Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have agreed to accommodate free of charge stranded Filipinos in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) or in any of its available Middle East flights, once the plans for the repatriation has been outlined. Air Asia on the other hand has agreed to the possible allocation and free accommodation of repatriated Filipinos that need to go back to their respective provinces in their domestic flights,” Sydiongco said.

CAAP said the airlines made the commitment after they met with officials from the Department of National Defense, Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Transportation to draft plans for the possible evacuation of Filipinos affected by the current US-Iran tension.

The same meeting also mapped-out actions currently being undertaken by concerned government agencies, as well as future strategies that the government will initiate should the events in the Middle East escalate, in order to secure the safety of Filipinos there.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, for his part, said the air sector guarantees the swift and effective implementation of the repatriation plan.

“When needed, our aviation sector, and the whole of DOTr, will fully support the government’s efforts in this repatriation. We will ensure that there will be no delays in getting our OFWs home and safe,” Tugade said.

CAAP likewise expressed readiness to comply with the government’s requirements to facilitate air movement.

“CAAP will be doing its part and will be more than willing to support air operations that will ensure the safety of the Filipino people in this crucial time,” Sydiongco said.

Indonesia’s search for AirAsia crash victims could end in days

admin   •   January 28, 2015

A police officer stands near part of the fuselage of crashed AirAsia Flight QZ8501 inside a storage facility at Kumai port in Pangkalan Bun, January 19, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/BEAWIHARTA

(Reuters) – Indonesia’s search for dozens of victims still unaccounted for from last month’s crash of an AirAsia (AIRA.KL) passenger jet could end within days if no more bodies are found, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

The Airbus (AIR.PA) A320 vanished from radar screens in bad weather over the Java Sea on Dec. 28, less than half-way into a two-hour flight from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-biggest city, to Singapore. All 162 people on board were killed.

Indonesia’s civilian National Search and Rescue Agency said it would scour the sea for bodies for at least another week.

“Within one week we will evaluate (our search) depending on the result,” agency chief Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo told reporters. “If we can find one or two more bodies, that means we have the opportunity to prolong the operation.”

The military withdrew from the search on Tuesday, apologising to the victims’ families for not being able to do more after a month of work.

A multinational search and recovery operation has found 70 bodies in the Java Sea and had hoped to find more after finding the fuselage of the plane. But days of rough weather and poor underwater visibility hampered navy divers’ efforts.

Divers have recovered both the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder from the sea floor.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee will submit its initial findings on the crash this week to the International Civil Aviation Organization, though only the final report will be made public.

Investigators say they have yet to start their analysis of the aircraft’s two “black box” flight recorders and have been compiling other data for the inquiry.

Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan has said that, based on radar data, the plane had climbed faster than normal in its final minutes, and then stalled.

Investigators have found no evidence of foul play.

(Additional reporting by Fergus Jensen and Nilufar Rizki; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Kim Coghill and Mark Bendeich)

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