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Indonesia resumes search for AirAsia victims

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Indonesian rescuers on Sunday resumed their search for 86 victims still missing from the AirAsia plane that crashed on Dec 28.

The ill-fated jet had 162 people on board.

National search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo last week said search and rescue teams were being given two days’ break after weeks searching in inhospitable conditions.

He said 68 divers from the national search and rescue agency (as well as others from companies and clubs) would focus on scouring the fuselage of Flight QZ8501 and the seabed for remaining bodies.

In this photograph taken on Jan 10, wreckage from AirAsia flight QZ8501 is lifted into a ship at sea south of Borneo island. Photo: AFP


So far, 76 bodies have been recovered after the Singapore-bound plane went down in the Java Sea in stormy weather - during what was supposed to be a short trip from the Indonesian city of Surabaya.

Search and rescue agency official SB Supriyadi, who has been coordinating the hunt, told AFP:

“Search operations have resumed. Our focus today is to find bodies that could be trapped in the fuselage, or buried in mud.

“The weather is good, and the waves were only a metre high.”

The search mission has been expanded to the island of Sulawesi after fishermen found bodies with identity documents matching the passengers.

The Indonesian military, which has provided the bulk of personnel and equipment for the operation, withdrew from the search on Tuesday.

'As good as those from military'

But Supriyadi said the current group also comprised of competent divers.

He added:

“Skills-wise, they are as good as those from the military as they have experience helping to evacuate sunken boats before.

“We hope we can still find the remaining bodies.”

 - AFP