Ship's Crew Finds Debris Scattered Over Wide Area
The USNS Mary Sears, searching off the western coast of Sulawesi
island, has detected what the US Navy believes to be signals from
the cockpit voice and flight data recorders of Adam Air flight
574. The aircraft went missing with 102 people aboard on New Year's
Day enroute to Manado in northern Sulawesi from Surabaya in East
"During the search of the projected crash site of Adam Air
Flight 574, the Mary Sears, using a Towed Pinger Locator, detected
pingers on the same frequency of the black box associated with the
missing airplane," the US embassy said in a prepared statement.
The USNS Mary Sears is one of several specialized oceanographic
research ships operated by the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography
Command of the US Navy.
Pieces of wreckage from the 737-400 have turned up over the past
weeks in the area where the Mary Sears' crew detected the
signals, but so far none have provided clues to determine what
happened to the jet.
A Singaporean team searched for the Boeing's recorders, but gave
up and returned home earlier this week. Investigators hope finding
the black box will lead to finding major portions of the aircraft
and an understanding of its fate.
US Navy officials say the USNS Mary Sears has found "heavy
debris" scattered over a wide area near where the signals were
detected, and is analyzing the data.
The US Embassy said it's passed all the information to
Indonesian authorities and the USNS Mary Sears will be leaving the
area on Friday.
Indonesia's search and rescue agency said its efforts to locate
the downed jet were hampered by the depth of the ocean in the area,
known as the Makassar Strait.
Flight recorders are capable of transmitting a locator signal
for up to 30 days to help searchers find them, but the water in the
Makassar Strait can be deep as 6,000 feet.