Investigators search for clues about cause of plane crash

Investigators today scoured for clues to what caused an Indonesian jetliner carrying 102 people to crash into the sea after pieces of the aircraft washed to shore or were picked up by fisherman.

Search teams have so far failed to locate the body of the Boeing 737 or its flight data recorder, also known as a black box – key to solving the mystery.

No bodies or survivors have been found.

The Adam Air plane disappeared on New Year’s Day, but wreckage was not found until more than a week later, when a fisherman pulled a sheared piece of the tail from waters 300 yards from Sulawesi Island’s western coast.

Since then food trays, life vests and fuselage have been recovered, said Lt Col Pramudya Pribadi, a military commander who was leading search operations in the coastal district of Barru. “If the black box is not found, then it is impossible to find out the cause and the case will be closed,” said Ruth Simatupang, an aviation specialist at Indonesia’s National Transport Safety Commission.

She said Indonesia would have to use a submarine to retrieve the black box if it was at the bottom of the sea, which reaches depths of 4,500 feet in that area.

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