An official from Indonesia's search and rescue agency said Tuesday that the main fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501 has been found in the Java Sea. However, search chief Bambang Soelistyo, contradicting reports, claimed that the body of the plane is yet to be found, according to Channel News Asia.
Suryadi B. Supriyadi, director of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, said that the fuselage was located 1.7 nautical miles from the spot where the plane's tail section was recovered on Saturday. Soelistyo, who stated that only the plane’s engine, wings and tail had so far been found, said that it could also not be verified if the cockpit voice recorder had been recovered, Channel News Asia reported. The retrieval of the plane’s fuselage is considered crucial as authorities believe it could be holding the bodies of several other crash victims.
Divers have been scouring the Java Sea to find the wreckage and bodies of the remaining victims on the seventeenth day of the search operation. Soelistyo reportedly said, at a parliamentary hearing, that the legal timeframe for retrieving bodies is seven days, but so far only 48 bodies of the 162 people aboard the flight have been found. He assured the families of the victims on board the Airbus A320-200, during a briefing Tuesday, that authorities would try their best to find the bodies of all the passengers.
Soelistyo also reportedly cited missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, saying that “it’s not that simple to find a crashed aircraft underwater,” when asked about the probable site where the wreckage and bodies could be found. The search for Flight MH370, which went missing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board, while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, is still ongoing with no clues as to the whereabouts of the jet.
Flight 8501 was on its way to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, with 162 people on board, when it went missing after the pilot requested a change of course to avoid bad weather. It was the last known communication from the plane. Investigators are now analyzing information from the plane’s flight data recorder, which was recovered Monday, to help determine the cause of the crash.