Search crews off Indonesia’s coast have so afar retrieved nine bodies in the AirAsia 8501 crash site, but bad weather continues to be a challenge. Most of the 162 people on board were still missing, as well as the plane’s main wreckage. CCTV America’s Barnaby Lo reported from Surabaya, Indonesia.
So far only one passenger has been identified and returned to her family Thursday, one of many painful reunions to come, as search crews struggled against wind and heavy rain to find more than 150 people still missing.
9 bodies found, no sign of AirAsia 8501 jetlinerSearch crews off Indonesia's coast have so afar retrieved nine bodies in the AirAsia 8501 crash site, but bad weather continues to be a challenge. Most of the 162 people on board were still missing, as well as the plane's main wreckage. CCTV America's Barnaby Lo reported from Surabaya, Indonesia.
Hayati Lutfiah Hamid’s identity was confirmed by fingerprints and other means, said Col. Budiyono of East Java’s Disaster Victim Identification Unit.
Her body, in a dark casket topped with flowers, was handed over to family members during a brief ceremony at a police hospital in Surabaya, the Indonesian city where the plane took off. A relative cried as she placed both hands against the polished wood.
AirAsia Indonesia’s CEO Sunu Widyatmoko was also seen weeping when authorities handed over her body.
Coffins with remains found in the presumed crash site of AirAsia Flight 8501 arrived in ambulances at a local hospital in Surabaya on Wednesday. Two others had already been processed for identification.
“The total number for bodies up until today that I have already confirmed is nine. Six bodies have already been transferred to Surabaya. Two bodies are still in Pangkalan Bun and the other one is still on the ship, Yos Sudarso,” Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia’s National Search told reporters at a news conference in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
Family members are now dealing with the reality that they have lost loved ones and the uncertainty that they may not be able to bury them.
Better weather conditions earlier in the day allowed for a resumption of some search and recovery operations. The hunt was on, not just for the missing passengers and crew and the wreckage, but for the plane’s black boxes as well.
The plane was traveling at 32,000 feet (9,753 meters) and had asked to fly at 38,000 feet to avoid bad weather on December 28. When air traffic controllers granted permission for a rise to 34,000 feet a few minutes later, they received no response.
Searches on Thursday spanned an area of 13,500 square km (5,200 square miles) involving 19 ships, four helicopters and five planes, said Soelistyo.
Indonesia search teams said the air and underwater search for AirAsia was ongoing, but Soelistyo said that so far nothing has been found using underwater sonar images.
“Hopefully with the operation from the air and sea more can be found again today,” Tatang Zaenuddin, the deputy operation officer of National Search and Rescue Agency said.
In addition to bodies, some debris that have been recovered included a suitcase, an emergency slide, and a life jacket near the suspected crash site. No survivors have been found. All but seven of those on board were Indonesians.
Report complied with information from CCTV America, Reuters, and AP reports.
New Year celebrations downscaled across Indonesia
New Year celebrations across Indonesia have been downscaled out of respect for the victims of the AirAsia crash. In Surabaya many events were canceled altogether, but in the capital of Jakarta the party went ahead. CCTV News’ James Chau reported this story from Jakarta, Indonesia.
New Year celebrations downscaled across IndonesiaNew Year celebrations across Indonesia have been downscaled out of respect for the victims of the AirAsia crash. In Surabaya many events were canceled altogether, but in the capital of Jakarta the party went ahead. CCTV News’ James Chau reported this story from Jakarta, Indonesia.
Starting at lunchtime, tens of thousands of people began crowding on Jalan Sudirman, a major landmark in Jakarta, named after an Indonesian revolutionary. Visitors sang, ate, and together waited for a brand new year.
Many visitors said that the recent AirAsia tragedy reminded them to celebrate what’s good in their lives.
“I’m devastated by what happened to AirAsia… but the New Year events must continue… because they represent what the Indonesian people hope for in 2015,” one visitor, who did not give his name, said.
Aerospace consultant John McGraw discusses latest details in AirAsia crash
CCTV America interviewed John McGraw, the founder and principal of John McGraw Aerospace Consulting, about the latest events in rescue efforts of the AirAsia crash.