With search workers locating the bodies and debris of the crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501, the focus has now shifted to finding the cause of the mishap. According to an Australian aviation expert, an error of judgment on the pilot's end caused the plane to crash.
Australian aviation expert Neil Hansford has claimed that it was human error that led to the disappearance of AirAsia flight QZ8501 as the pilots flew the plane directly into a notorious danger zone above the Java Sea.
Hansford told the local news channels in Australia that it was either the Indonesian captain or French first officer, who plotted a "dangerous flight plan", Xinhua news agency reported (via New Strait Times).
His comments have caused uproar on social media, with many saying that his statement was not just 'racist' but also 'patently ill-informed'.
Hansford, making his argument against the AirAsia pilots, stated that the route taken by flight QZ8501 was one that even veteran pilots dread as the area where the plane is believed to have gone down was deemed 'dangerous' and hence no one would fly through it.
"They call it the 'thunderstorm factory'. You plan to go around it, you don't plan to go through it," Hansford reportedly said.
He further stated that the flight plan was the fatal error made by the pilots. "Whoever did the flight plan -- we don't know whether it was the French first officer or the captain himself..."
"Whether they read the meteorology right they were given in Surubaya... And how well did they communicate? One whose basic language is Bahasa and the other guy's basic language is French."
Hansford concluded by emphatically saying it was the pilot's error. "I've said all along it was never going to be engineering (error)," he said.
While the speculations are already on, the investigators looking into the AirAsia flight 8501 crash will have to wait till the black box is recovered and the final moments are analysed to conclude the real cause of accident.
Captain Iriyanto, the pilot of the ill-fated plane was a former Indonesian air-force fighter pilot with more than 20,537 flying hours, of which 6,100 were on Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320s. His co-pilot was Remi Emmanuel Plesel, a French citizen who gained his pilot's licence at age 42 and had 2,275 hours on the Airbus A320.
A Globe and Mail report noted that as a standard practise, usually, one pilot flies a flight segment while another operates the radios and communicates with air-traffic control. It's not yet known which pilot was handling the flight in its final moments just before the crash.
On Tuesday evening, the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency that is working with several other countries, located bodies, along with debris, in the Java Sea, where AirAsia Flight 8501 vanished three days ago.
The bodies were spotted 6 miles from the plane's last communications with air-traffic control. Reports claim that over 40 bodies have been retrieved from the sea, and the number is growing. The chances of survivors is said to be virtually nil.