The efforts to recover the wreckage of AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed late last month into the Java Sea, have officially ended after the Indonesian military said it could not find any more bodies in the fuselage discovered underwater. The search-and-rescue operation ends 30 days after the crash happened. "All of our forces are being pulled out," said Rear Admiral Widodo, a navy official overseeing the operations, according to Reuters. "We apologize to the families of the victims." Since the first body was found on Dec. 30, 70 more have been recovered from the wreckage site.
The Dec. 28 Singapore-bound flight from Surabaya, Indonesia, was carrying 162 passengers when it went missing. Rescuers thought their job might get easier when the plane’s fuselage was found, expecting the majority of the bodies to be trapped within, but bad weather hampered recovery efforts.
While the Indonesian military ended its involvement, the civilian National Search and Rescue Agency said it might press on with the search for bodies. However, without the military’s large vessels and recovery equipment those efforts may be limited. "Perhaps we will do regular operations with help from fishermen and communities near the coast to find other victims," said Tatang Zaenuddin, the agency's deputy of operations, according to Reuters.
"We can only hope they will continue to search, but if it's stopped, there is nothing I can do about it. I am resigned to it," Imam Sampumo, who lost four family members in the crash, none of whom were found, told Reuters.
Investigations revealed that the Airbus A320 plane climbed too fast when it experienced a storm, leading to equipment malfunctions and stalls. Divers have found the cockpit flight recorder and the flight data recorder, known as the “black box.” After examining it, officials ruled out any possibility that terrorism was responsible for the crash. The preliminary crash reports are expected to be released soon, with the final report expected later this year.