AirAsia alarms 'ringing' just before crash - investigator

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By Alasdair Sandford  with Reuters, AFP
AirAsia alarms 'ringing' just before crash - investigator

Alarms on board the AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed into the Java Sea were “ringing out” as pilots desperately tried to control the plane – according to reports quoting an investigator.

The information has not been officially confirmed.

The investigator from Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, who requested anonymity, told the AFP news agency that the noise of several alarms was recorded by the black box in the Airbus A320-200’s cockpit.

He added that the pilots’ voices were drowned out by the sound of the alarms.

The comments come a day after the Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said the jet had climbed too quickly, before stalling and plunging into the sea.

Search and recovery teams have been preparing special balloons they hope to use to raise the fuselage and other debris from the sea bed.

“We already have 70 balloons. We have arranged for the search areas to be divided up so that we and local authorities in Banda Aceh will carry out this operation together. I hope that with all these components we have gathered we can fully maximise our resources to raise the wreckage of the AirAsia plane,” said Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, operations co-ordinator for Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency.

The operation continues despite being hampered by bad weather in recent days.

A preliminary report giving details of the inquiry’s findings will not be made public, according to Tatang Kurniadi, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Committee.

It is due to be submitted early next week to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Regulations state that an initial report must be filed within 30 days of the accident.

The crash, which happened in stormy weather on December 28, killed all 162 people on board the plane which had been on its way from Surubaya in Indonesia to Singapore.