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article imageExperts say AirAsia flight landed safely in Java Sea, then sank

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 1, 2015 in World
There are conflicting opinions on what happened to make AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 end up on the bottom of the Java Sea, killing all 162 onboard, but some believe it first landed safely on the water. That opinion is shared by a few.
No emergency locator engaged
The biggest reason they believe it landed in the water safely, more than one said, is that the Airbus A320-200 would have sent a signal if it had crashed. Any destructive crash, on land or in water, would send such a signal and the plane's emergency locator transmitters would begin transmitting its location.
Flight 8501 did not and that has led some to believe that the experienced former Air Force pilot, Captain Iriyanto, must have landed the plane safely in the water, noting that emergency water landings are indeed possible. The plane then, they say, must have become swamped by waves in the storm and sunk before passengers could get off safely.
Dudi Sudibyo is a senior editor of the aviation magazine 'Angkasa' and he is one who holds the belief that because there was no emergency locator transmitters (ELT) set-off there could therefore not have been a crash.
"The emergency locator transmitter would work on impact, be that land, sea or the sides of a mountain," Sudibyo told the Hindustan Times. "And my analysis is it didn't work because there was no major impact during landing. The pilot managed to land it on the sea's surface."
Airbus items recovered intact
Items that have been recovered from the sea include an emergency exit door and an inflatable slide, both intact, suggesting to some attempts to evacuate the plane had been made upon landing on water. Jusman Syafii Djamal, the former Indonesian transport minister, said a floating, intact exit door means that "someone had opened it."
"High waves may have (then) hit the plane, the nose, and sunk the plane," Djamal said.
Further, of the nine bodies discovered to date, they're all in one piece, and a former air force pilot says that, too means something.
"The conclusions I have come to so far are that the plane did not blow up in mid-air," Chappy Hakim, a former Indonesian air force commander, told AFP. "And it did not suffer an impact when it hit a surface, because if it did so then the bodies would not be intact,"
Black box of Flight 8501 sought
The fuselage is still down there under the surface but the Java Sea is shallow where the plane is located, and it appears from photos of the plane in its resting place, that the fuselage is also intact. That would be unlikely if the plane had crashed into the sea, the experts say.
Others disagree, some say judging from the maneuvers that radar data shows were made by the plane as it climbed and descended in the storm, that it did not land but must have plunged nose first straight down into the water.
Given so much of the plane appears under the surface, the efforts to find the black box (called that but really a 'flight recorder' and neither black nor box-shaped) should be successful. All relevant dates will be there, including the cockpit voices, and once found the mystery of how the plane went into the water should be solved.
"We can only find out from the black box," Dudi Sudibyo said.
More about airasia flight 8501, black box air asia, bodies recovered air asia, indonesia searchs for plane
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