Strong Currents Hamper Retrieval of QZ8501’s Main Wreck

16th Jan 2015

Bad weather and strong undersea currents are main obstacles that have slowed down the search and retrieval operations by more than a dozen teams from at least six countries on the doomed flight.

Last week, the divers attempted to reach the main wreck but in vain, due primarily to the undersea currents that proved to be too strong to tackle.

A part of the tail and a portion of the fuselage have already been recovered one week earlier. Meanwhile, a total of 51 bodies have also been retrieved since the search operations began. The plane was carrying 162 people on board plus a crew of 7 when it crashed.

The aircraft's two flight recorders, the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, were already recovered on January 12 and 13, respectively and were already shipped to Jakarta so that a full-blown investigation of the incident could start.

On January 14 the search teams located the main wreck lying on the ocean floor some 30 meters or 100 feet below the surface. The search teams immediately dispatched a team of deep sea divers to reach the fuselage to retrieve more bodies that may have been trapped inside, but was turned back as currents were found to be too strong for a safe dive.

Photos taken on the wreckage showed airline's motto painted on its fuselage, 'Now everybody can fly', that seems to mock the victims' families and friends who are now grieving over their loved ones who were obviously unable to fly safely to their destination.

It has been days since the divers attempted to reach the wreckage but they failed each time. The head of Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency, S.B. Supriyadi, said that if retrieval of the bodies proved to be impossible while the fuselage is still on the sea bottom, they will try to lift the whole thing using the same technique applied to the retrieval of the plane's tail last week. Searchers used an inflated balloon to recover the tail.

The country's meteorological agency has maintained that bad weather was the cause of the flight's catastrophic end based on the radar data. With the retrieval of the black boxes and the subsequent extraction of data from them, that theory may or may not hold true.

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