Bigger plane parts found on second day of dredging

Crash of SilkAir Flight MI185 —————————–

SEARCH teams yesterday recovered bigger parts of the SilkAir jetliner that plunged into the Musi River here two weeks ago as dredging operations got underway.

Indonesia’s airline investigator for the crash, Captain Santoso, told The Straits Times that the second day of excavation work in the chocolate-coloured fast-flowing Musi had yielded much more twisted wreckage from the river bottom.

The finds included engine parts and the auxiliary power unit of the Boeing 737-300.

“This is very encouraging and we are recovering three times more debris than what our naval divers got,” he said. “Many of the parts are larger in size and this will certainly help in our investigations.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Soh Guan Huat, the commander of the Singapore Naval Task Force at the crash site some 125 km from the south Sumatran capital of Palembang, said that dredging operations were “progressing well” because search teams were finding more wreckage.

But they faced a number of difficulties.

He said: “We are still digging in the dark. The divers were unable to see when they were carrying out search and rescue operations. The machines can’t see either.”

He said that the wreckage recovered from the river-bed was divided into four groups: aircraft debris, human body parts, identification papers and personal belongings.

Investigators said that more than 20 per cent of the plane wreckage had been found. Lt-Col Soh, however, stressed that too much importance should not be attached to the amount of debris recovered in understanding why flight MI 185 went down.

“It is not how much you find that is important. It is what you find. It is no point finding all the aircraft parts if you cannot recover important items like the black box.”

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