Has Sonar Detected The Missing AirAsia Plane?

As of Wednesday, Indonesian rescue teams say that they may have located the wreckage of the downed AirAsia plane using sonar. On the third day of the search, teams have located a "large object" on the ocean floor off of Borneo that could be the body of the aircraft. Although a key member of the search team told Reuters that they believe to have found the fuselage, AirAsia Chief Executive Tony Fernandes was quick to clarify that nothing has been confirmed.

It is still unclear what caused the plane to crash into the Java Sea, but debris and bodies found in the search could provide clues to the plane's final moments. Seven bodies have now been recovered, including a woman who was wearing a red flight attendant uniform, now identified as 20-year-old trainee Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi.

And there's new evidence to fuel investigators' theories on how the plane went down. Indonesia’s Navy Chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar tweeted photos of the recovered debris that included an emergency evacuation slide. The last body pulled from the water was wearing a life jacket, and several of the bodies were recovered still fully clothed. This all supports a theory that the plane stalled mid-climb rather than mysteriously plummeting from the sky.

Experts have compared the search to a 2009 Air France crash. A few bodies were found in the first few days of the search in that crash, along with floating wreckage. But most of the bodies were found inside of the plane when its body was recovered from the bottom of the 12,000-foot Atlantic ocean floor.

Loved ones of the AirAsia victims will not likely have to wait for answers as long as their counterparts in the Air France crash. The wreckage, if that is indeed what searchers found with the sonar, is in relatively shallow waters up to 100 feet deep. The expected crash site is also in close proximity to shipping lanes where merchants know the currents well. Searchers hope to retrieve the plane’s voice and flight data recorders, which could give definitive data on the plane's path.

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David Gallo, who was a co-expedition leader in the Air France crash, seemed optimistic about getting answers, according to the Washington Post.

My guess is we’ll know what happened within a week.

The search on Wednesday was suspended due to weather conditions, including high wind, rain, and 10-foot waves.

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