There are still many unanswered questions about Asia Airlines Flight QZ8501 but much more is known about its fate compared to that of Malaysia Flight MH370, which disappeared last March 8th. Sky News reported that ‘four big objects’ believed to be parts of the plane’s fuselage have been located on the ocean floor. More than two dozen bodies have been recovered as well.
As information continues to come in, experts and laymen will all speculate about what happened in an effort to make sense of it. However, there is one thing few will speculate about – whether the religion of the pilot had anything to do with the crash.
The state of bodies recovered after a plane crash can communicate much. In a report, Fox News cited former FAA official Scott Brenner on this subject:
Clues may be found on the passengers’ bodies, Brenner said. If any were wearing life jackets, that might indicate that the pilots had time to warn passengers of a water landing. Whether the bodies were found clothed or not might provide valuable evidence as well, he said, because if a person is ejected mid-air at 500 miles per hour, the force would rip off their clothing immediately.
One of the bodies that was recovered appeared to be such an individual:
In another instance, one of the bodies appeared to be fully clothed. Based on Brenner’s expertise, it would appear that this individual was not ejected. However, as you can see, neither did the person appear to have been wearing a life jacket:
Speaking of life jackets, Paul Hayes, an expert quoted in the Fox News article says that the bodies recovered were not wearing them. According to Hayes, that reality points to the lack of an attempt to make a controlled ditching of the airliner. As was the case with the previous passenger, this body appears fully clothed:
The Sky News report further stated that some of the bodies recovered were still strapped in their seats. Some have suggested that the pilot – Captain Iriyanto – may have attempted to land the plane on the water as softly as possible. For example, Fox News quoted Dudi Sudibyo, a senior editor for Angkasa, an Indonesia aviation magazine as putting forth this theory. Of course the problem with Sudibyo’s assertion is that it contradicts Hayes’ claim that a controlled ditching would reveal bodies with life jackets, let alone one that appears not to be clothed at all.
Another theory that has been put forth – this one by Indonesian aviation expert Gerry Soejatman – is that the plane shot up through the air like a fighter jet and then was pushed down vertically as if by a “giant hand” in a “freakishly extreme” weather event. This appeared to be a consensus agreed upon by the Indonesian investigation team, according to the UK Daily Mail.
As new information continues to come in, much more can be eliminated. What neither cannot nor should not be dismissed is the fact that Captain Iriyanto was a devout Muslim. According to Indonesian news sources, when he was not flying, Iriyanto was usually in a mosque, as Shoebat.com reported. He was also an experienced fighter pilot who spent years with the Indonesian Air Force.
If Iriyanto’s religion turns out to be relevant, so too will the religion of his nation. There have been at least two mass murder / suicides perpetrated by a commercial airline pilot that were investigated by both the U.S. and Muslim countries. The first occurred after the crash of Singapore’s Silk Air Flight 185 on December 19, 1997, and Egypt Air Flight 990 on October 31, 1999. In both cases, the U.S. authorities concluded pilot suicide and investigators with the Muslim countries concluded otherwise.
In the case of Flight 185, the lead investigator was a Muslim named Oetarjo Diran of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC). As Shoebat.com reported, despite overwhelming evidence that Tsu Way Ming, also a seasoned fighter pilot though with the Singapore Air Force, intentionally crashed the plane into an Indonesian river after disabling the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was outraged that Diran didn’t reach the same conclusion that even lower level NTSC investigators did. The Los Angeles Times passed along the beliefs of some who thought Diran’s religion played a role in not reaching the same conclusion:
Some critics have accused Diran of trying to cover up for Singapore, which has many financial ties to Indonesia. Others suggest that he refused to reach a conclusion of suicide because of his Muslim beliefs. But the professor dismisses such claims.
“I don’t think being a Muslim will make me not objective,” he said. “All they can say is that I am stupid, not that I am intentionally covering up.”
As to the motive for mass murder / suicide attributed to Tsu by the NTSB, it was determined that the ex-fighter pilot from Singapore was in grave financial trouble and had been recently demoted due to being caught shutting off a CVR on a previous flight. Tsu’s religion or whether he was influenced by Islam has not been determined and was not cited by the NTSB as a factor. Here is how the NTSB and the overruled investigators from Indonesia’s NTSC determined how Tsu was able to shut off the CVR and FDR while getting the co-pilot out of the cockpit. The video is cued up to start at the appropriate point:
When it comes to Egypt Air Flight 990, co-pilot Gamil el-Batouty, also an ex-fighter pilot for his country, was found by the NTSB to have intentionally crashed the airliner into the ocean off the coast of New England after taking off from JFK bound for Cairo. As was the case with Tsu Way Ming, the crash was found to have occurred when el-Batouty was the only pilot in the cockpit.
The NTSB may have partially bowed to the politics of international diplomatic pressures when it ruled el-Batouty purposely forced the plane down but did not deliberately crash it. Egypt’s investigative body – the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) – adamantly rejected the notion that el-Batouty purposely committed mass murder / suicide and therefore reached a completely separate conclusion from that of the NTSB. At that, the NTSB didn’t attribute motive to el-Batouty despite his having been reprimanded for sexual misconduct before being told this would be his last flight on a U.S. route.
Moreover, el-Batouty was recorded several times saying, “I rely on Allah” during his rapid descent as Shoebat.com reported:
In a Smithsonian channel documentary about the mysterious fate of another commercial airliner piloted by a politically active Muslim – Malaysian Flight AH370 – the details of the Silk Air and Egypt Air Flights were covered. While speculating that AH370 may have been an act of mass murder / suicide committed by one of its two Muslim pilots (though omitting the part about them being Muslim), the documentary turns to the cases of 990 and 185.
Note that the findings on the Egypt Air Flight included el-Batouty’s DNA on the inside of the cockpit and the pilot’s DNA on the other side of the cockpit door, with a fire axe (35:55 – 37:25):
Much more will be known about QZ8501 when the CVR and FDR are recovered. However, a pattern might be more easily established if the devices were intentionally shut off as was the case with AH370 and Silk Air 185.
There were indeed issues with communication relative to QZ8501. One day after the crash, TIME reported:
AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 departed Surabaya, Indonesia, bound for Singapore at 5.35 a.m. on Sunday, but lost contact with air traffic control after 42 minutes. The flight path was almost entirely over water.
Also according to the report, Iriyanto requested authorization to climb to 38,000 ft. from 32,000 ft. After some time, this request was denied. Soon thereafter, the plane is said to have climbed at a high rate of speed. AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes seemed to indicate that weather may have played a role but his credibility was badly damaged when it was learned that he blamed man-made climate change for such extreme weather conditions.
In the days after the crash, pilots and aviation experts were critical of Iriyanto’s actions. According to the Australian Daily Telegraph, the Muslim captain’s judgment was pointedly questioned because he appeared to fly directly into a thunderstorm he could have avoided:
“I think ultimately it will become the main issue — a question of human factors. What was he doing there?” said Desmond Ross, the Asia Pacific Vice President of the International Aviation Security Management Association.
“I’m seeing this as more than just a technology failure. These storms are a fact of life in this region and you just work with them or not at all. Why did he find he find himself in that situation. We know that he knew there was bad weather, because he asked air traffic control for a change of altitude and direction. He had another alternative; he could’ve done a 180 degree turn and flown back to Surabaya.”
Former commercial pilot and Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilot Byron Bailey also questioned Iriyanto’s decision-making:
“To avoid flying into a red zone with associated severe and even extreme turbulence, I would have declared an emergency and deviated as necessary avoiding other traffic using the aircraft Collision Avoidance System which show their positions on the Map display.”
As it stands, Iriyanto appears to have severed contact at about the time he should have been issuing a distress signal. Another expert said of the QZ8501 pilot:
“He shouldn’t have been there. Somehow or another he is in the wrong place at the wrong speed at the wrong altitude.”
In addition to new findings that QZ8501 was shockingly not authorized to fly in the first place, there are new allegations that Iriyanto failed to even ask for a weather report prior to taking off. This strange behavior coupled with his excessive mosque attendance is a red flag. A pilot who does not care about the weather report is cause for alarm.
The debate as to what happened to QZ 8501 continues. Experts examining radar data leaked from the investigation have disagreed and the newly found debris and two pieces should shed more light on what happened. Mr. Soejatman said the jet climbed at a speed that would have been impossible for the pilot to have achieved – and then plunged straight down ‘like a piece of metal being thrown down’. ‘It’s really hard to comprehend…the way it goes down is bordering on the edge of logic.’
Australian aviation expert, Peter Marosszeky, from the University of NSW, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the plane was heading almost straight down, explaining why it has been found in water just 10km from its last point of radar contact. The theory goes that the plane was batted from the skies by immensely powerful winds that caused it to rise up at the same rate as a fighter jet, before dropping almost vertically into the ocean.
So they assume that the Airbus 320 was in the grip of weather so freakishly extreme that there was nothing the pilots could have done to save the jet and all 162 people on board.
But all this does not rule out a Kamikaze-style ascent and descent as in the other cases: QZ8501 fell at an even more incredible rate of 11,000ft a minute, with extraordinary bursts of up to 24,000ft a minute – figures higher than the Air France A330 Airbus that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009, killing 228 passengers after attaining baffling ascent and descent rates.
Mr. Marosszeky agreed that a climb rate of at least 6000ft a minute would indicate a ‘severe weather event,’ because that rate of climb was a ‘domain for jet fighters.’ The radar data says that there was definitely something to take notice and commercial airliners don’t fall out of the sky very often, particularly without a word from the pilots, which is extremely rare.
As Shoebat.com has reported, there have been only a handful of commercial flights with passengers on board that were crashed as an act of mass murder / suicide by the pilot. Until more conclusive evidence is found, AH370 and QZ8501 both may qualify. The others include Royal Air Maroc Flight 630 from Morocco, which flew into a mountain shortly after take-off; 1997 Silk Air Flight 185, which was intentionally flown into a river; and 1999 Egypt Air Flight 990, which was intentionally flown into the ocean.
It should further be noted that in Islam, drowning is considered to be a martyr’s death that guarantees a trip to paradise (taking infidels with you is an added bonus).
A question was once posted to Islamweb in which the questioner wanted to know about how drowning is viewed in Islam:
Assalamu Aleikum, i just wanted to ask regarding a person dying as a shaheed when he drowns for example….my question is will he be considered as shaheed even if he was not a muslim or a practicing muslim? jazakallah
Here is how that question was answered:
A person who is drowned is considered among the martyrs of the Hereafter; for more benefit on the categories of martyrs, please refer to Fataawa 89756 and 88945.
The term Shaheed (Martyr) is an Islamic term that is only permissible to be used according to the meaning that is meant by the Sharee’ah, so this term cannot be used for a non-Muslim, because how can a non-Muslim be a Shaheed while he, from a Sharee’ah point of view, is ruled to be eternally in Hellfire and Paradise is forbidden for him.
While it is true that we still do not know if devout Muslim Captain Iriyanto committed mass murder / suicide, there is a history which shows that American investigators tread very lightly when concluding such things to be true and Muslim investigations determine they are not true.
Until both sides admit the truth, more people will die. When that happens, blood will be on the hands of investigators and leaders who refuse to profile or consider all possibilities.
*Ben Barrack contributed to this article
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