Indonesian offiical says pressure change likely caused AirAsia jet to explode before impact


The AirAsia airliner that crashed two weeks ago in Indonesia likely “experienced an explosion” before hitting the water due to a significant change in air pressure, a senior government official said on Monday (January 12).

“My analysis is, based on the wreckage of the cabin and other findings, the left side of the AirAsia plane seems to have disintegrated. It means there was a change in pressure caused by altitude change, that caused an explosion before it hit the water. But this is just my analysis, the KNKT (National Transportation Safety Committee) will explain further,” Supriyadi, operations coordinator at the National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters.

But his theory was disputed by an official from the Indonesian safety investigator saying that there was no evidence to support it.

The flight recorder will analysed in a lab of Indonesia’s transportation safety committee in Jakarta.

Search teams are now working on confirming the location of the cockpit voice recorder, which they believe is located not too far from the flight data recorder based on pings from its emergency transmitter.

“We have not found the CVR, cockpit voice recorder. Where is this recorder? In fact it’s not too far from FDR (Flight Data Recorder). According to our estimation, it’s about 20 metres away from that location. But it can’t be lifted because it seems to be under a wing, which is quite heavy, so we will use lifting bags to raise it. This will be done tomorrow,” said Supriyadi.

Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 vanished from radar screens over the northern Java Sea two weeks ago, less than half-way into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore, killing all 162 people on board.

Investigators have said it could take up to two weeks to download the data depending on the condition of the recorder. However, the information could be accessed in as little as two days if the devices are not badly damaged.