Debris from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 discovered in the Java Sea, including an emergency exit door and emergency slide, inspire new theories that the plane may have landed fully in tact on the water before sinking.

Was There An Escape Effort On Flight QZ8501?

As the search for the black boxes continues with the hope that the data will help investigators determine what caused the sinking of Flight QZ8501, the recovery an emergency exit door and the condition of some bodies recovered could point to a successful landing prior to the drowning of the plane. Jusman Syafii Djamal, a former transport minister, theorized that the fact that the emergency door was found completely intact could point to it having been opened, though others are skeptical that any escape effort was made as no survivors have been found.

However, Dubi Sudibyo, a senior editor of Angkasa, an aviation magazine, said that the fact that the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) did not automatically turn on at the time of the crash signifies the absence of a large impact while landing, suggesting that the pilots of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 were able to land the plane on the Java Sea somewhat smoothly.

“The emergency locator transmitter would work on impact, be that land, sea or the sides of a mountain, 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,” Sudibyo said.

Of course, nothing can be determined without the black boxes, and it is doubtful that, if there were passengers conscious enough to deploy the emergency exit doors or emergency slide, there would be no survivors.

21 Bodies Recovered From Search In Java Sea

Meanwhile, 21 bodies were recovered from the search area on Friday and are currently being taken to Surabaya to be identified. So far, four bodies have been identified as passengers on the flight, including AirAsia stewardess, Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi. AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, Co-Founder Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and CEO Sunu Widyatmoko delivered her body to her family in Palembang and attended her burial. “Khairunisa was well known for her professionalism as well as dedication at work,” they said in a statement.

Most bodies are awaiting identification and there are many more waiting to be recovered in the ocean. Search efforts slowed Friday as bad weather and high waves created dangerous conditions for divers.

“Waves were between three and four meters today, making it difficult to load bodies onto ships and [move them] between ships…Tonight we are sending tug boats which should make the [body] transfers easier,” revealed Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency.

Soelistyo added that search teams would be focusing on scanning the sea floor for any debris as the bad weather persists.

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