Bangkok, January 29: The co–pilot was at the controls of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed into the Java Sea a month ago, taking just three minutes to hit the water, officials said on Thursday. Indonesia’s tiol Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) officials said in a press conference that the pilot was monitoring the co–pilot and that the entire crew was properly certified, according to The Strait Times daily. The government agency also said the Airbus 320–200 plane was in sound condition when it left Surabaya, Indonesia, for Singapore carrying 162 passengers.
Mardjono Siswosuwarno, head investigator for the NTSC, said that the flight data recorder recovered from the bottom of the sea gave a “pretty clear picture” of the last few minutes before the accident, without giving details about the causes for the crash. According to Siswosuwarno, the plane was flying within the limits of weight and balance when the plane’s pilot asked for permission to climb from 32,000 to 38,000 feet to avoid a storm.
On getting permission to climb to 34,000 feet, the aircraft turned sharply to the left and climbed to 37,400 feet in only 30 seconds to later return to 32,000 feet in another 30 seconds, before beginning the fall towards the sea which only took three minutes. Indonesian authorities are continuing to look for the remains of the 92 people who are still missing. All on board the aircraft perished. On Tuesday, the armed forces suspended work on the recovery of the plane’s wreckage. (IANS)