AirAsia Flight QZ8501- Emergency water landing gone wrong?

Several news sources are reporting that the pilots of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 may have managed to make an emergency water landing, only for the plane to be overcome by high seas.

The Airbus A320-200 that disappeared from radar over the Java Sea during a storm, has failed to send the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signals that are normally being emitted automatically when a plane crashes or is submerged. This suggests the experienced former air force pilot, Captain Iriyanto, conducted an emergency water landing which did not have a destructive impact.

The fuselage is also thought to be largely intact after aerial searchers saw a “shadow” on the seabed, where operations are now being focused.

QZ8501 inflatable emergency slide recovered

An emergency exit door and an inflatable slide were among the first items recovered by the search team, suggesting the first passengers may have started the evacuation process once the plane landed on water. Former transport minister Jusman Syafii Djamal was convinced the discovery of the floating exit door meant “someone had opened it”. Passengers may have been waiting for a flight attendant to inflate a life raft when a high wave hit the nose and sank the plane.

Flight safety standards require that all passengers can be evacuated from a plane in 90 seconds.

Image: BBC/Reuters