High waves and strong currents continue to hamper recovery operations of the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501 in the Java Sea, officials said Monday. Indonesian Navy divers on Sunday were unable to access the main body, where most of the victims’ bodies are believed to be trapped.
Suryadi B. Supriyadi, director of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, reportedly said that a team of 15 divers attempted to reach the fuselage, which rests at a depth of about 92 feet on the sea floor, to examine and calculate its weight, but failed to do so due to unfavorable weather conditions. Survey vessels have so far located at least nine big objects, including the jet’s fuselage, while authorities also believe some of them belong to the jet’s cockpit. However, divers reportedly need to be deployed to verify the objects.
“BASARNAS assured that the search and recovery mission of QZ8501 passengers still becomes the main priority as it is suspected that more passengers might be still trapped under the wreckage,” AirAsia Indonesia said, in a statement.
Two more bodies were recovered Sunday from near the location of the fuselage bringing the total number of victims retrieved to 53, of which 45 have been identified so far.
The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia said that the team is collecting DNA samples to identify the six bodies that had been recovered earlier.
Meanwhile, investigators in Jakarta are still analyzing the flight data recorders, which could help determine the cause of the crash.
The Airbus A320-200 went down with 162 people on board on Dec. 28 after the pilot requested a change of course to avoid bad weather. It was the last known communication from the plane, which was flying to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia.