Findings from Indonesian officials show passengers were aware that AirAsia flight QZ8501 was going down, as some victims were recovered holding hands and wearing life jackets.
More bodies have been pulled from the Indonesian coast of Borneo Island, including a woman, a boy, and three people who were holding hands. Basarnas representatives confirmed that an additional four bodies were found; at least forty victims have already been recovered. Officials are now wondering why the pilot didn’t put out a distress signal if there was time for one person to put on a life jacket.
Despite suggestions passengers may have been alive during the plane’s final few moments in the air, the pilots did not issue a distress signal in the time between asking permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather and six minutes later when air traffic control lost contact with the plane.
‘This morning, we recovered a total of four bodies and one of them was wearing a life jacket,” said Tatang Zaenudin, an official with the search and rescue agency.
Other pilots have suggested that the pilot of the doomed flight might have experienced tunnel vision and was only focused on flying the plane.
“There was time. It means the thing didn’t just fall out of the sky,” said the pilot, who declined to be identified. “The first train of thought when you get into a situation like that is to fly the aircraft.”
The first two bodies–a woman and a boy–were put in coffins before they were sent to East Java for official identification. Families of the victims have also volunteered to submit DNA in efforts to identify them.
Meanwhile, two families are thankful to be alive after missing the flight. The first family canceled their trip just a day before, when Inge Goreti’s father was diagnosed with hepatitis. Feeling like she needed to be with her father, Goreti canceled the Singapore vacation with her three children and husband.
Christianawati (who goes by one name) and her huge family missed the flight after they neglected to see the email alert that the flight was taking off two hours earlier than originally planned.
Christianawati was going to ring in the New Year in Singapore with her family and her brother’s family, she told a French news agency. Ten were traveling in all.
“They emailed and called us on December 15 and 16 to inform us but we missed those calls,” Christianawati, who goes by one name, told Agence France-Presse. Maybe it is all God’s plan that my family and I were not on the flight. It was a blessing in disguise.”
Goreti also called the blessing an act of God, as she and her family went to church the evening the plane disappeared.
“We received calls from relatives regarding the plane that lost contact,” Inge Goreti said. “We all broke down and cried.”
Goreti was also heartbroken to find out some of her friends and colleagues were on the flight.