AirAsia QZ8501: Bad weather obstructing debris retrieval

Jakarta, Dec 30: Bad weather and high waves have obstructed the retrieval of bodies from the AirAsia QZ8501 plane in the Java Sea, an official said Tuesday, two days after the jetliner went missing.

"Tomorrow (Wednesday), we will conduct evacuation process. The recent obstacles are the waves reaching two to three metres in height and bad weather," Indonesia's Antara news agency quoted National Search and Rescue Agency head Bambang Soelistyo as saying.


A number of aircraft and helicopters supporting the search and rescue operation could not be operated due to the bad weather over the Java Sea area where the debris of the ill-fated Airbus A320 jetliner was found, Soelistyo said.

Indonesian Navy warship KRI Banda Aceh 593 is expected to arrive in the area around the Karimata Strait, west of Kalimantan island where the AirAsia plane lost contact with the air control tower 42 minutes after taking off from Indonesia's Surabaya city for Singapore Sunday morning.

The navy vessel will be assisted with some other ships to locate the wreckage of the aircraft and other debris and bodies of the passengers possibly discovered during the night operation.

Soelistyo earlier confirmed that the debris found in Karimata Strait definitely belonged to AirAsia flight QZ8501.

"I can confirm now that 100 percent of the debris belongs to the missing AirAsia aircraft," he said.

Among the things discovered were parts of the aircraft and a piece of blue luggage, he said.

Three bodies of two women and one man were retrieved from the sea and taken to the Indonesian Navy ship KRI Bung Tomo, Soelistyo confirmed.

President Joko Widodo arrived in the East Java city of Surabaya to visit families of the ill-fated aircraft's passengers.

"We will focus first on the evacuation process," he said.


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