IN PHOTOS: The search for AirAsia QZ8501
On the first month anniversary of the crash, we look back at the events of the past 30 days
JAKARTA, Indonesia – On the morning of December 28, 2014, a routine AirAsia flight from Surabaya, East Java, to Singapore  with 155 passengers and 7 crew members disappeared amid stormy weather. 
What followed over the next 30 days was an Indonesia-led international search and rescue effort that managed to recover 70 of the 162 victims and retrieve parts of the wreckage. Faced with strong currents and uncooperative weather conditions, the search and rescue operation is nevertheless widely regarded as having been carried out well, with families of victims themselves expressing appreciation for the hard work of all those involved.
On the first month anniversary of the crash, we look back at the events of the past 30 days:
On December 28, 2014, AirAsia Indonesia-Singapore flight QZ 8501 went missing at 07:24hrs (Sunday) morning,” AirAsia initially announced, referring to GMT+8. But Indonesian Transport Ministry officials later said it lost contact a few minutes before that, at 6:17 am (GMT+7).
AirAsia QZ8501 from Surabaya was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 830am on December 28, 2014.  Photo by AFP
The pilot asked to ‘deviate’ due to bad weather. “Last contact was with the Jakarta tower, pilot requested permission to avoid clouds and fly to 38,000 feet,” Transport Ministry official Djoko Murdjatmodjo said. “The plane is in good condition but the weather is not so good.”
In Singapore, relatives of passengers waiting for them are advised to proceed to a holding area at the Singapore International Airport. Photo from AFP
The flight had 155 passengers, including 17 children and 1 infant, plus 7 crew members (two pilots, an engineer, and 4 flight attendants): 155 Indonesians, 3 South Koreans, 1 Malaysian, 1 British, 1 French, 1 Singaporean.
Within hours of officials saying the flight is missing, family members of passengers gathered at the airport in Surabaya. Officials said 88 of the passengers were residents of Surabaya.   Photo by AFP
The complete passenger manifest released by the Indonesian Transportation Ministry includes 23 names who did not check in for the flight.
The passenger manifest is posted at Juanda Airport, Surabaya. All but 7 of the 162 on board the flight were Indonesian.  Photo by EPA
AirAsia had no major accident or plane crash on record, up until the disappearance of flight QZ8501. 
Faced with his first major crisis, Malaysian mogul Tony Fernandes, who transformed a floundering carrier into Asia’s biggest budget airline, quickly flew to Surabaya, where most of the families of the passengers on board were. 
Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes seen here with Air Asia  Indonesia President Director Sunu Widiatmoko (R) and the head of Surabaya search and rescue agency Hernanto (L), at a press conference on December 28, 2014.   Photo by AFP
Search and rescue operations led by the Indonesian military and SAR teams of Indonesia and Singapore focused on an area between Belitung island and Kalimantan, the plane’s last known position. 
An official from Indonesia's national search and rescue agency (Basarnas) points at his computer screen to the position where AirAsia flight QZ8501 went missing off the waters of Indonesia on December 28, 2014.  Photo by AFP
A member of the Indonesian military looks out of the window during a search and rescue for the missing flight over the waters of the Java Sea on December 29, 2014.  Photo by AFP
‘Papa, come home’Relatives of people aboard missing AirAsia flight QZ 8501 are getting anxious as the search for the plane is suspended on the evening of day 1.
A relative waiting for news in Surabaya shows a picture of passengers on the flight on December 28, 2014.  Photo by AFP
Family members of passengers gather at the airport in Surabaya, East Java, on December 29, 2014.  Photo by Juni Kriswanto/AFP
Rohana, the mother of Khairunisa, a flight attendant, points towards her daughter within a framed family photograph in Palembang, South Sumatra, on December 28, 2014.   Photo by AFP
Relatives hold a picture of the Herumanto Tanus family as they wait for news at Juanda Airport on December 29, 2014.  Photo from EPA
On Tuesday, December 30, bodies and debris were found around 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of the town of Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan. It’s the first confirmation that the plane had indeed crashed. 
Floating debris spotted in the same area as other items being investigated by Indonesian authorities as possible objects from missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 on December 30, 2014.  Photo by Bay Ismoyo/AFP
Items resembling an emergency slide, plane door and other objects were spotted during an aerial search on December 30 for the missing AirAsia plane.  Photo by Bay Ismoyo/AFP
Pilots were said to have risked vertigo by flying at 500-1000 feet above sea water for many hours until they found debris and bodies.  Photo by AFP
Relatives of people on board learned about the discovery of the debris at a holding room of the Surabaya Airport. Many are distraught and some faint from the news and are rushed to the hospital.
Family members of passengers onboard the missing AirAsia flight react after watching news reports showing an unidentified body floating in the Java sea, inside the crisis-center set up at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya on December 30, 2014.  Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP
Relatives of the passengers of the crashed AirAsia plane pray at Juanda Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia on December 31, 2014.  Photo by Made Nagi/EPA

By New Year’s Day, 7 bodies had been retrieved, and relatives began burying their victims. Indonesian rescuers promised an “all-out effort” to search for the rest of the victims and international investigators joined attempts to locate the fuselage of the ill-fated plane.

Members of an Indonesian search and rescue team transport the body of a victim from AirAsia flight QZ8501 recovered from the Java at Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan on January 1, 2015. Photo by Adek Berry/AFP

Indonesian officers carry coffins with the remains of passengers of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 before they are sent to Surabaya, at the base in Pangkalan Bun. Photo by AFP/Adek Berry

Indonesian military personnel carry coffins of victims upon their arrival at the military airbase in Surabaya on December 31, 2014.  Photo by AFP
Indonesians gather to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims of ill-fated Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 in Surabaya on Dec. 31, 2014. Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP
On January 2, the body of flight attendant Khairunisa arrived in her hometown of Palembang, escorted by AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes himself. 
Indonesian military personnel carry the coffin containing the remains of Khairunisa Binti Haidar Fauzi, one of the flight attendants from AirAsia flight QZ8501, at the police hospital in Surabaya on January 2, 2015.  Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP
CEO of AirAsia Tony Fernandes attending a funeral ceremony for Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi, a flight attendant onboard AirAsia flight QZ8501, in Palembang, on Jan. 2 Photo by Abdul Qodir/AFP
Indonesian recovery teams narrowed the search area for AirAsia Flight 8501 on January 2, hopeful they were closing in on the plane’s crash site, with a total of 30 bodies and more debris recovered from the sea.
Indonesian navy ship 'KRI Sultan Hasanudin' is seen through the window of a Super Puma helicopter during a search operation for AirAsia flight QZ8501 over the Java sea on January 7, 2015.  Photo by Beawiharta/Pool/AFP
Sailors aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) on January 4, 2015, making preparations to launch a tow fish side scan sonar system from the ship's 11-m rigid hull inflatable boat while conducting search and recovery operations in support of the Indonesian-led AirAsia flight QZ8501 search efforts in the Java Sea.  Photo from US Navy/AFP
A Russian search and rescue team member shows their searching monitor inside their amphibian aircraft BE 200 CS as they show their aircraft during their search and rescue operation for crashed AirAsia plane at Iskandar Military Airport in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, on January 7, 2015. Photo by Bagus Indahono/EPA
Indonesian navy divers on a boat after conducting operations to lift the tail of AirAsia flight QZ8501, in Java Sea, 08 January 2015. Adek Berry/EPA
A handout picture released by the Indonesian Search And Rescue Agency (Basarnas) on Jan. 7,  2015, shows a part of the crashed AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 laying on the sea floor. Photo from EPA
Another picture released by the Indonesian Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) on January 7, 2014 showing part of the crashed plane laying on the sea floor. Photo from EPA
After a few failed attempts, the mangled tail of the plane was lifted out of the Java Sea on January 10. 
In this photo, the tail part of the crashed AirAsia plane is is seen aboard the Crest Onyx ship, after it was hoisted from the Java Sea.  Photo by Zulkarnain/EPA
Indonesian national search and rescue agency (BASARNAS) crew lift up the wreckage of AirAsia QZ8501 aircraft tail from the Crest Onyx ship.  Photo by EPA

On January 13, Indonesian divers retrieved the cockpit voice recorder from beneath the wreckage of the plane,  a day after the plane’s other black box, the flight data recorder, was recovered. The devices should provide investigators with vital information about what caused the accident.

Indonesian officers move the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) (C) of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 into a suitable protective transportation case in Pangkalan Bun after it was retrieved from the Java Sea on January 12, 2015. Photo by Adek Berry/AFP
On January 14, Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen announced on his official Facebook page that the fuselage of the crashed AirAsia jet has been located by a Singaporean vessel.
Image posted by Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen apparently showing the fuselage of the crashed AirAsia jet. Photo taken from his Facebook page
Image apparently showing the back part of the plane.
Image that supposedly shows the front part of the plane.
After several failed attempts, divers on January 22 managed to go near the fuselage of the crashed AirAsia jet. AFP reported that Indonesian divers found 5 bodies still belted into their seats near the fuselage.
On January 27, a day before the one-month anniversary of the crash, the Indonesian military called off efforts to recover the wreckage after failing to find any more bodies inside the fuselage. Only 70 of the 162 passengers had been found.
CALLED OFF. Indonesian rescue personnel  on rubber boats on a mission to recover victims and the wreckage of AirAsia flight QZ8501 off of Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, on January 23, 2015.  Photo by EPA





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