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Fuel spill may be new clue on missing Adam Air jet BARRU - Indonesian rescue workers scouring the seas for a commercial airliner that went missing two weeks ago have found a fuel spill believed to be from the doomed jet, an official said on Monday. Small pieces of the Adam Air Boeing 737-400 that vanished from radar screens on New Year's Day with 102 people aboard have been found in the past few days floating in the sea or washed up on beaches off the west coast of Sulawesi island.

The jet fuel was found in the sea off Majene on Sulawesi, said First Air Marshal Eddy Suyanto, commander of the airbase in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, where the search is being co-ordinated. This gives us a clear idea where the bigger pieces of the plane such as wings are located," he told Reuters. Officials have suggested the plane might have crashed into the sea off Sulawesi, disintegrating into small pieces.

Fragments of human hair and scalp that might come from passengers were found on Sunday, an official said. Muslimin, a rescue official in Makassar, said by telephone that the remains had been sent for DNA testing. The process could take two or three days. A fragment of one of the plane's wings was also found on Saturday night. After finding no trace of the plane for more than a week, a fisherman found the tail stabiliser of the Boeing last Tuesday snared in his nets off Lojie Beach on the west coast of Sulawesi.

Hoping for a miracle

Grieving relatives were still clutching to hope on Monday and some joined the search. "I want to see for myself the search operation. After they found the pieces of the plane, the chance of finding anyone alive is extremely slim," said T.A. Brata, 55, who joined the search off Barru, a coastal town 100 km north of Makassar. His flight attendant daughter Verawati Katarina was on the plane."But I still hope there will be a miracle, or at least I can take her body home," he said.

Search head Suyanto said previously that, considering that parts of the plane found so far were mostly small, a body was unlikely to have survived the disaster in one piece. Despite the possibility that the Boeing had broken up, Indonesian navy ships assisted by a U.S. oceanographic ship have been trying to locate its fuselage, which could still house the flight recorder that could provide clues to explain the disaster.

The flight recorder is set up to give off a signal for 30 days to aid detection, but it is likely to be very hard to locate in waters as deep as 1,700 metres in the area. Singapore's navy has deployed four underwater detectors to help find the plane's flight recorders, said Ertata Lanang, an investigator at the National Transport Safety Commission. Lanang said his team could not determine why the plane had crashed until most parts of the aircraft were found.

Six U.S. investigators from Boeing, jet engine-maker General Electric and American aviation authorities are also helping. The 17-year-old plane was heading from Surabaya in East Java to Manado in northern Sulawesi when it vanished in bad weather on January 1. The plane made no distress call, although the pilot had reported concerns over crosswinds.


Link to related event Related event:
Adam Air plane missing

Related blog entries (category 'Accidents') Related blog entries (category 'Accidents'):
14 January 2007 · Probe into Indonesia jet crash hampered
11 January 2007 · Piece of missing jet found off Sulawesi
10 January 2007 · Canada joins search for missing Adam Air plane
09 January 2007 · Plane search focuses on undersea object
08 January 2007 · 700 servicemen sent to Rantepau, Mamuju to search for missing plane


Posted in Accidents @ 15 January 2007 11:45 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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