AirAsia crash not due to terrorism: Investigators

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Jakarta/Singapore, Jan 19: Indonesian investigators probing the deadly AirAsia crash today ruled out any terror or pilot suicide angle in the tragedy after analysing the cockpit voice recorder to determine what caused the plane to plunge into the Java Sea.

In their first remarks since analysing the cockpit voice recorder - part of the crucial black box expected to shed new light on the mysterious crash, Indonesian investigators said they had found no evidence so far that hinted any foul play.

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Transport safety committee investigator Andreas Hananto said investigators had listened to the entire two-hour recording, and found that there was "no threatening voice on board" the Airbus A320-200.

The recording appeared to indicate that the pilot was too busy attempting to regain control of the aircraft to send a distress signal, he told the BBC.

The recording appeared to indicate that the pilot was too busy attempting to regain control of the aircraft to send a distress signal, he said, adding that some of the parameters retrieved from the flight data recorder seemed to indicate that the plane had encountered bad weather.

More analysis was needed from the rest of the 1,200 parameters to determine the exact weather conditions and the impact the weather had on the plane's engines, Hananto added.

Investigators have only transcribed half of the cockpit voice recording so far and are expected to issue a preliminary report on January 28 on the crash that claimed all 162 lives on board.

This would be exactly one month after the ill-fated AirAsia Flight QZ8501, en route from Indonesia's Surabaya city to Singapore, ended in the choppy waters half way into a two-hour flight, minutes after it encountered difficulties from an approaching storm.

"We didn't hear any voice of other persons other than the pilots," said Nurcahyo Utomo, another investigator from Indonesia's Transportation Safety Committee.

"We didn't hear any sounds of gunfire or explosions. For the time being, based on that, we can eliminate the possibility of terrorism," the Channel NewsAsia reported, quoting Nurcahyo. He also said nothing heard on the audio recording so far suggested pilot suicide played a role in the crash.

Two more bodies were recovered today, bringing the total found so far to 53.

PTI

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