Jakarta, Dec 31 (IANS) One more body was recovered Wednesday from the Java Sea site where AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed Sunday, taking the total number of retrieved bodies to seven.
“We have not found the airframe yet. But we found seven bodies so far,” Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, said.
The seven bodies are of four males and three females, Indonesia’s Antara news agency reported.
Sulistyo has confirmed that the bodies are from the plane which went missing Sunday morning with 162 on board. It had lost contact with the air control tower 42 minutes after taking off from Indonesia’s Surabaya city for Singapore and was spotted in the waters of Karimata Strait, west of Kalimantan island.
“We wanted to evacuate the bodies from the ships. However, two of our helicopters had to return to Pangkalan Bun due to bad weather,” Soelistyo said.
As many as 168 coffins have been made available in Pangkalan Bun for bringing the bodies to Surabaya.
Earlier in the day, Indonesian officials said that sonar has detected wreckage from the plane at the bottom of the Java sea.
The officials were, however, unsure whether the aircraft is in one piece or has disintegrated.
As many as 17 helicopters and nine aircraft have been deployed on the fourth day of the search operation.
Other vessels, including three warships and two survey ships equipped with underwater detectors, were on their way to the crash site to join the hunt for the plane’s black boxes.
On Tuesday, Soelistyo said at a press conference that an Indonesian Air Force C-130 Hercules saw a “shadow” under water, believed to be that of the AirAsia plane.