Search and recovery for the ill-fated Air Asia Flight 8105 resumed on Wednesday off the Indonesian coast of Kalimantan but bad weather slowed down the efforts. Only 10 bodies have so far been recovered, two of which were airlifted to Surabaya, where relatives have been waiting. CCTV Americas’s Barnaby Lo reported this story from Surabaya, Indonesia.
Two of the 162 passengers and crew of AirAsia Flight 8105 arrived in coffins Wednesday afternoon in Surabaya, where they began their flight to Singapore before it crashed into the sea.
Bodies have been taken to the regional police hospital in Surabaya for processing as they’re flown in from the crash site. DNA samples have been taken. but relatives of the victims may still need to be present for final identification.
Bad weather hindered efforts to recover victims on Wednesday and sent wreckage drifting far from the crash site, as grieving relatives prayed for strength to endure their losses.
Bad weather hinders recovery of bodies in AirAsia crashSearch and recovery for the ill-fated Air Asia Flight 8105 resumed on Wednesday off the Indonesian coast of Kalimantan but bad weather slowed down the efforts. Only7 bodies have so far been recovered - two were airlifted to Surabaya, where relatives have been waiting
“Help us, God, to move forward, even though we are surrounded by darkness,” the Rev. Philip Mantofa, whose church lost about 40 members in the disaster, told families gathered in a waiting room at the Surabaya airport.
The massive hunt for debris and bodies was severely limited due to heavy rain, wind and thick clouds.
Sonar images also identified what appeared to be large parts of the plane, but strong currents were moving the debris.
“It seems all the wreckage found has drifted more than 50 kilometers (30 miles) from yesterday’s location,” said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun on Borneo island, the closest town to the site. “We are expecting those bodies will end up on beaches.”
The airliner’s disappearance halfway through the two-hour flight triggered an international search involving dozens of planes, ships and helicopters from numerous countries. It is still unclear what brought the plane down.
Its last communication indicated the pilots were worried about bad weather. They sought permission to climb above threatening clouds but were denied because of heavy air traffic. Four minutes later, the jet disappeared from the radar without issuing a distress signal.
The aircraft’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders, or black boxes, must be recovered before officials can start determining what caused the crash. Items recovered so far include a life jacket, an emergency exit window, children’s shoes, a blue suitcase and backpacks filled with food.
“The families, if you look at them on television they are truly shocked, looking at the reality that they are now facing,” Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO, AirAsia Indonesia said. “So what we can do now is to try to help with the identification process as soon as possible so that they can get over this difficult time as soon as possible.”
“The weather unfortunately is not looking good for the next two or three days and that is slowing us down, but they did inform me that the ships are looking to operate 24 hours which is very encouraging and they would be bringing all the assets to the two spots which are where the aircraft could be,” AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said.
With more help coming from outside countries including those with technical expertise like the U.S. and Singapore, Indonesian authorities hope not just to find all the missing passengers and crew, but to also find out exactly why Flight 8105 ended in a tragedy.
Malaysia-based AirAsia’s loss comes on top of the still-unsolved disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March with 239 people aboard, and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July over Ukraine, which killed all 298 passengers and crew.
Nearly all the passengers were Indonesian, and a large portion were Christians of Chinese descent. The country is predominantly Muslim, but sizable pockets of people of other faiths are found throughout the sprawling archipelago. Around 10 percent of those in Surabaya, the nation’s second-largest city, are Christian.
On Wednesday, around 100 relatives gathered for the airport prayer service where Mantofa urged them to hold onto their faith, despite their pain. About 40 members of his Mawar Sharon Church died in the crash.
“Some things do not make sense to us, but God is bigger than all this,” he said. “Our God is not evil.”
Report is compiled with information from CCTV America and AP reports.
Psychologist Ann Rosen Spector discusses AirAsia tragedy
Families who lost loved ones aboard AirAsia flight QZ8501 endured another excruciating day of waiting Wednesday as bad weather hindered efforts to recover any more bodies and sent wreckage drifting far from the crash site.
CCTV America interviewed Ann Rosen Spector, a clinical psychologist about the grieving process for these families.