The pilot of AirAsia Flight 8501 may have landed the doomed plane on the ocean surface, only to have it sink in high seas, according to aviation experts, who cited the intact condition of several bodies as possible evidence for the theory.
“The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) would work on impact, be that land, sea or the sides of a mountain, and my analysis is it didn’t work because there was no major impact during landing,” Dudi Sudibyo, a senior editor of aviation magazine Angkasa, told the AFP. “The pilot managed to land it on the sea’s surface.”
The theory that passengers were alive at some point after impact appeared to be supported by Jusman Syafii Djamal, the former transport minister, who said that the fact that the emergency door was found intact may be evidence that the door was opened.
The Airbus A320 crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday with 162 people on board. Sixteen bodies have been recovered so far. Seven were announced Friday morning, six of which were found by a U.S. Navy ship, said Suryadi B. Supriyadi, operation coordinator for the National Search and Rescue Agency.
Jimmy Sponder, the CEO of Aviation Consultant Expert Solutions, was skeptical of the theory. Sponder, who told FoxNews.com that he worked for years on the same model plane that crashed, said there would have likely been survivors if the plane did land successfully.
More ships arrived Friday with sensitive equipment to hunt for the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501 and the more than 145 people still missing since it crashed into the sea five days ago.