An official has said that 30 bodies have been recovered along with pieces of the broken-up AirAsia plane in the Indonesian-led search for Flight QZ8501 that is concentrated on 1,575 square nautical miles of the northern Java Sea.
Ships and aircraft criss-crossed the seas off Borneo on Friday hunting for the wreck of an Indonesia AirAsia passenger jet, but bad weather again hindered the search for the plane and the black box flight recorders that should reveal why it crashed.
Strong winds and heavy seas have stopped divers from looking for the fuselage of the Airbus A320-200, which plunged into the water on Sunday while en route from Indonesia’s second-biggest city, Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.
“Waves were between 3 and 4 meters today, making it difficult to load bodies onto ships and between ships,” Head of Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, told reporters in Jakarta, adding that some vessels would search through the night.
“Tonight we are sending tug boats which should make the (body) transfers easier.”
The multinational search operation based in Pangkalan Bun, the town in southern Borneo closest to the search area, was bolstered on Friday by experts from France’s BEA accident investigation agency, which attends all Airbus crashes.
Officials said that the French team’s hydrophones – sophisticated underwater acoustic detection devices – and towed sonar equipment brought by other international experts could not be used on Friday because of high waves.
But naval vessels from Indonesia, the United States and Singapore with in-built anti-submarine capabilities were using sonar to sweep the sea floor.