Jakarta, Mar 18: Indonesia has called off the search for the remaining victims of the AirAsia plane crash in the Java Sea, an official said today. All 162 people aboard Airbus A320-200 died when it went down December 28 while flying from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, to Singapore.
So far, 106 bodies have been recovered, with the last three pulled out from the underwater wreckage last week. Some of the bodies have been found off Sulawesi island, about 1,000 kilometres east of the crash site.
Tatang Zainudin, the operations director of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said the final retrieval operations ended last night.
The main search and rescue operation had been called off March 3, but small-scale efforts continued for another two weeks at the request of the victims' families.
Zainudin said the agency planned to take family members to scatter flowers at the crash site next week. Indonesian investigators said Flight 8501 plunged into the Java Sea shortly after the pilots asked to climb from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet to avoid threatening clouds, but were denied permission because of heavy air traffic. No distress signal was received. A cause of the crash has not been determined.