Jakarta, Jan 27: An Indonesian navy official said Tuesday that a multinational operation to search for the bodies of victims aboard crashed AirAsia Flight QZ8501 and retrieve wreckage of the ill-fated plane has been called off, mediA reported.
The announcement was made by Navy Western Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Widodo on board navy ship Banda Aceh 31 days after the operation was launched in the Java Sea off the Central Kalimantan province, Xinhua news agency reported citing TVOne.
Widodo said the operation effectively ended Tuesday as no more bodies were found in the wreckage of the aircraft. Search for bodies of passengers and crew members has been the focus of the operation after two black boxes and the tail section of the Airbus A320-200 were retrieved earlier this month.
"The military commander has ordered us to return to our respective bases for further consolidation while waiting for further situation development," he was quoted by TVOne as saying.
The report said all military vessels involved in the operation were told to return to their bases.
The search operation started Dec 28 when the Singapore-bound plane crashed into the sea in bad weather 40 minutes after its take-off from Indonesia's city of Surabaya in East Java.
As of now, 70 bodies of a total of 162 people on board the ill-fated flight have been recovered by teams from Indonesia, Australia, the US, Russia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. Some 55 bodies have been identified.
Suryadi B Supriyadi, commander of the search operation, said at an operation base in Pangkalan Bun that the operation was extended from the standard search period of seven days stipulated in Indonesia's law.