The data recorder from AirAsia Flight QZ8501’s “black box” was pulled from the Java Sea this morning at approximately 7:11 a.m. Many experts have claimed that the plane may have “experienced an explosion” before hitting the water based off of the location and condition of debris. With the flight data recorder now in hand, aviation experts should be able to piece together exactly what happened in those final moments before the AirAsia flight hit the water.
According to Reuters, the second “black box” with the cockpit recordings has been identified, but workers were unable to retrieve the box as it is located under a heavy wing portion of the plane. Recovery crews plan to use airbags to lift the wing and secure the cockpit recordings. Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said that the second black box should be recovered tomorrow.
Sky News reports that some of the salvage experts working on the crash site feel that the plane likely experienced some sort of explosion before hitting the water, most likely due to the cabin being unable to stabilize pressure during the sharp decent. S.B. Supriyadi, a director with the Indonesian national search and rescue agency, says that evidence points to such an explosion.
“The cabin was pressurized and before the pressure of the cabin could be adjusted, it went down — boom. That explosion was heard in the area.”
Supriyadi says that fishermen in the general area of the crash had claimed to hear a large boom sound around the time of the crash, and saw smoke above the water. This boom could be attributed to the cabin “exploding” as it failed to properly pressurize during the steep decent. In addition to fisherman hearing a boom, Supriyadi said that the left portion of the plane appeared to have “disintegrated.” This can point to an extreme pressure change that could result in an explosion.
However, not everyone is buying into the explosion theory. Santoso Sayogo, an investigator at the National Transportation Safety Committee, says “there is no data to support that kind of theory.” However, Sayogo says that flight investigators will soon have the information they need to determine if the plane did indeed “explode” before hitting the water. The flight data recording will take approximately one hour to download. However, officials note that it could take up to a month for the data to be analyzed.