Indonesian troops comb beaches for plane debris
Makassar (Indonesia), Jan 13: Indonesian troops were combingbeaches today for more debris from a missing Indonesian airliner, anofficial leading the search said, hoping for more clues to piecetogether what happened to the jet.
Mostly small parts of the Adam Air Boeing 737-400 that vanishedfrom radar screens on New Year's Day with 102 people aboard were foundin the past few days at roughly the same location, floating in the seaor washed up on beaches.
Officials have suggested the plane may have crashed into the seaoff the west coast of Sulawesi island, disintegrating into small pieces.
Despite the possibility that the Boeing had broken up, Indonesiannavy ships assisted by a US oceanographic ship have been trying tolocate its fuselage, which could still house the flight recorder thatcould provide clues to explain the disaster.
''We want to find the plane's main body and the black box. We knowthat the Makassar Strait can go as deep as 1,700 metres and we needmore sophisticated equipment to locate the plane's body,'' said searchmission chief First Air Marshal Eddy Suyanto.
Suyanto told reporters police and military troops would keep scouring the shore for other items belonging to the doomed plane.
The fisherman who discovered the first piece of the missingIndonesian plane was given on Saturday a cash prize of 50 millionrupiah from authorities.
Bakri Hapipah found the plane's tail stabilizer snarled in a fishing net 300 metres from the shore.
''I want to get a bigger fishing boat. A motorized one. I stillwant to be a fisherman,'' the 45 year-old told reporters when askedwhat he wanted to do with the cash.
''I hope (the passengers) can be found soon,'' Bakri added.
He found the one-metre long piece on Tuesday but initially storedit under his stilted house because he thought it was only a slab ofplywood, before a neighbour persuaded him to report it to the police aday later.
Since then, a life vest, food trays, wing shreds, seat cushionsand interior material have also been recovered by residents, militaryand police in the sea and on the shores around the seaside town of ParePare.
But none of them had been as big or as significant as the tail stabilizer which had a distinctive serial number.
The 17-year-old plane was heading from Surabaya in East Java toManado in northern Sulawesi when it vanished in bad weather on NewYear's Day. The plane made no distress call, although the pilot hadreported concerns over crosswinds.