SURABAYA, Dec 31 – Six bodies from AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 have been recovered so far, including that of a flight attendant, Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief Bambang Soelistyo said today, CNN Online reported. Four days after the Airbus320-300 went down in the Java Sea en route from Surabaya to Singapore, search teams are now focusing on the area near where debris and bodies were spotted yesterday in the Karimata Strait, off the southwestern coast of Kalimantan on Borneo island.
Aviation experts believe the fuselage may be easily found as the aircraft probably only broke up when it hit the water, which is only some 40 metres deep. Divers, ships and aircraft began a new search today, after spotting the first signs of debris from QZ8501 yesterday. Searchers yesterday had also spotted a “shadow” that they believed was the plane at the bottom of the sea and were renewing efforts to locate it again after being hampered by strong currents yesterday. Sonar equipment has also been deployed to the sea bed, CNN quoted SB Supriyadi, the Basarnas director of operations as saying.
CNN also reported that dozens of ambulances were lined up in Surabaya, ready to carry any bodies recovered Flight QZ8501 with 162 people on board lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday morning after requesting permission to climb to a higher altitude to avoid a storm. Television footage of a body floating in the sea yesterday prompted outrage among the families and relatives waiting for news about the fate of their loved ones on the plane. Indonesian president Joko Widodo last night announced that the immediate priority was retrieving the bodies for identification. About 30 ships and 21 aircraft from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the United States have been involved in the search.