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Bodies recovered from AirAsia crash


More bodies have been recovered from the AirAsia crash site (AP)

More bodies have been recovered from the AirAsia crash site (AP)

More bodies have been recovered from the AirAsia crash site (AP)

Indonesian divers have retrieved six more bodies from waters around the sunken fuselage of the AirAsia jetliner that crashed last month.

Divers were struggling against strong current and poor visibility to lift the fuselage and what appears to be the plane's cockpit from the seabed at a depth of 100ft (30m).

So far, 59 bodies have been recovered from AirAsia Flight 8501, which plunged into the Java Sea with 162 people while en route from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, to Singapore. Officials believed the rest are still inside the main fuselage.

National Transportation Safety Committee head Tatang Kurniadi yesterday ruled out sabotage, as investigators downloaded and began analysing data from the aircraft's cockpit voice and flight data recorders with advisers from Airbus, the plane's manufacturer.

Transport minister Ignasius Jonan told the Indonesian parliament earlier this week that radar data showed that the plane was climbing at an abnormally high rate - about 6,000ft a minute - then dropped rapidly and disappeared.

He did not say what caused the plane to climb so rapidly, but the pilots asked to climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft to avoid threatening clouds and were denied permission because of heavy air traffic. No distress signal was received.

An excessively rapid ascent is likely to cause a plane to go into an aerodynamic stall.

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In 2009, an Air France Airbus A330 disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean in bad weather while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Investigators determined from the jet's black boxes that it began a steep climb and then went into a stall from which the pilots were unable to recover.

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon said that it was too early to comment on possible similarities between the two crashes.

A preliminary report on the AirAsia accident is expected to be submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organisation next week, in line with a requirement that it be filed within 30 days of a crash, Mr Kurniadi said, adding that a full analysis of what went wrong with the plane could take up to a year.

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