Investigators analyzing AirAsia Flight 8501's flight data recorders said Monday that they had found “no threats” in the cockpit voice recordings that would indicate terrorist involvement in the plane's crash. Indonesian authorities in Jakarta are examining the recorders to help determine the cause of the crash.
A team of 10 investigators at the National Transport Safety Committee reportedly found no evidence linking terrorism to the downing of Flight 8501 in the Java Sea. The plane is believed to have crashed after the pilot requested a change of course to avoid bad weather -- the last known communication from the plane -- following which it went off radar. The Airbus A320-200 was flying to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, on Dec. 28 with 162 people on board when it went down.
"In that critical situation, the recording indicates that the pilot was busy with the handling of the plane,” Andreas Hananto told Reuters. “If there were terrorism, there would have been a threat of some kind," he added, when asked about the possibility of a terrorism link.
Investigators reportedly said that they had downloaded and listened to the complete recording of the cockpit voice recorder, which holds information like the sounds in the cockpit and radio transmissions, and conversations among the pilot, co-pilot, crew and air traffic control, but had so far transcribed only half of it.
"We didn't hear any voice of other persons other than the pilots," Nurcahyo Utomo, another investigator, told Reuters. "We didn't hear any sounds of gunfire or explosions. For the time being, based on that, we can eliminate the possibility of terrorism."
Search-and-rescue teams found the black box and cockpit voice recorder last week in the Java Sea close to the location where the plane's tail was found.
Divers are currently attempting to reach the fuselage where the bodies of several passengers could be trapped. However, strong currents and rough sea have hindered the search operation for several days. A total of 53 bodies have so far been retrieved, of which 45 have been identified.