Posted by : Des Ross Tuesday, 3 February 2015


The Indonesian military has withdrawn from the search for more bodies and will not make further attempts to raise the fuselage of Air Asia flight QZ8501. Fascinating decision.

Seemingly based on the reality that it is rather difficult and the Indonesian military have determined that it is “just too hard” to get the fuselage to the surface and to recover it. No mention of bringing in a professional salvage company to do the job. We all know that there are many professional salvage companies which could do the job. Look at the re floating of the Costa Concordia, various submarines which have been raised, the raising of the “Mary Rose” a shipwreck several hundred years old from the bottom of the ocean off England, discovery of the Titanic, and the list goes on.

We seem to be watching a cultural difference at play here. If this had occurred in similar conditions in most of the developed countries of the World, no effort would be spared. The fuselage would be raised and as many bodies as possible would be recovered.

There are two major reasons for this. The broken fuselage will provide many answers to the big question of why the accident occurred. The recovery of the bodies would provide some measure of peace and closure to relatives. But in Indonesia, with all due respects to the Islamic beliefs of the country, life is much cheaper than in the Western World and, unfortunately, this measure of the value of life is in play here. This is similar in India where Hinduism is the major religion and way of life, but in common with all these highly populated and underdeveloped nations, an individual life is simply not valued as highly as in Western cultures.

Now, to turn to the issue of the preliminary accident report on QZ8501. Why do the Indonesian authorities feel that this must be secret and kept from the general public and the aviation industry? The entire reason for thorough accident investigations is to discover the cause of the accident so that the industry can learn from the mistakes made which have caused the accident. The objective is to avoid future accidents of a similar type. The only way to achieve this is to provide the information to all concerned organisations and people so that they can understand the cause.

Why does Indonesia have such a retarded view of such matters? Consider what happened when Silk Air flight 185 crashed into the river near Palembang in Sumatra in December 1997. The Indonesians treated this like a highly sensitive military secret of “Eyes Only” importance and it took months to obtain information on what had occurred. Finally the USA investigators released a totally separate report which differed significantly from the one released in Indonesia. This is contrary to all International protocols and is obstructive to the learning process which will allow aviation safety to be improved.

Indonesia can do itself a great service by informing the World of the issues surrounding the crash of QZ8501 at the earliest possible time.

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