AirAsia crash: 30 bodies retrieved amid inclement weather

AirAsia crash: 30 bodies retrieved amid inclement weather

AirAsia crash: 30 bodies retrieved amid inclement weather

Rescuers have retrieved 30 bodies from Indonesian waters where an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board crashed Sunday, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency F. Henry Bambang Sulistyo said here Friday.

"So far, there are 30 bodies found that I have confirmed," Xinhua quoted him as saying at a press conference.

He said that 10 of the 30 bodies are being moved from the airport at Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan province to Surabaya, the capital of East Java province.

While four bodies were still at the airport in Pangkalan Bun, eight others are at two ships and the rest are already in Surabaya city, said Sulistyo.

The eight bodies in the two ships included seven at an Indonesian rescue ship KRI Bung Tomo and one at Malaysian rescue ship KD Pahang, he said.

"Now, the two ships are struggling against huge waves toward Pangkalan Bun, but so far they have not arrived," he added.

AirAsia flight QZ8501 with 162 passengers and crew on board went missing after taking off from Surabaya for Singapore early Sunday morning. The debris was spotted Tuesday.

Sulistyo said that huge waves up to five metres high hampered search and rescue operations Friday. A drizzle and light clouds covered the area Friday, and rain, strong winds and high waves were forecast until Sunday. Strong sea currents have also kept debris moving.

Nine planes, many with metal detecting equipment, were also scouring a 13,500-square-km area off Pangkalan Bun.

"We will focus on underwater detection," said Sulistyo, adding that ships from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States had been on the scene since early Friday to try to locate the wreckage and flight data and cockpit voice recorders.  

Meanwhile, three more bodies of the crash victims have been identified. The East Java Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) made the first identification Thursday of the body of Indonesian passenger Hayati Lutfiah Hamid.

Head of East Java DVI Senior Commissioner Budiyono stated at a press conference in Surabaya, East Java, Friday that the bodies of stewardess Khairunnisa Haidar, passengers Grayson Herbert Linaksita and Kevin Alexander Soetjipto have been identified with the help of their fingerprint and medical records, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.

Budiyono explained that the identification of the three bodies has been undoubtedly accurate as the process was supported with strong post-mortem and ante-mortem data.

Grayson Herbert Linaksitas's identification has been based on his fingerprints and teeth, both of which matched with his medical records.

For Khairunisa, besides her medical records, the uniform she wore and the pin and name tag of AirAsia stewardesses were supported by ante-mortem data.

Identifying Kevin Alexander was relatively quicker as the post-mortem data of his fingerprints and teeth were fed to the system and his name immediately flashed on the monitor.

The three bodies will be handed over to their families through AirAsia management. So far, eight bodies recovered from the AirAsia flight QZ8501 search site have been received in Surabaya and four of them have been identified.