The search for the bodies of 60 people on board AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed in the Java Sea on Dec. 28, would likely end within days, the airline’s CEO Tony Fernandes said, at a press conference in Sydney on Thursday, according to reports. He reportedly said that the Malaysian low-cost airline would give it "one last shot" at recovering the missing bodies.
Fernandes reportedly said, “Seven to 10 full operational days and then we’ll probably have to close it down.” So far, over 100 bodies of the 162 people on board the Airbus A320-200 have been recovered, while the plane’s debris and flight data recorders have also been retrieved from the bottom of the Java Sea, where it went down in stormy weather while on its way to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia.
"My message is we're not giving up. (The families) know that because I'm speaking to them every day," Fernandes told reporters in Sydney, according to Agence France-Presse, noting that the captain’s body has also not been found. "It is our responsibly to look after those families as best as we can.
"We have been successful from a sea operation like this. To get more than 50 percent is considered a huge success,” he reportedly said, while talking about the search operation, adding: "There is a time period and we've agreed with the families that this is obviously not something that can go on indefinitely.”
Last month, Indonesia’s search and rescue team recovered the final part of AirAsia Flight 8501's fuselage “with a wing still intact.” Earlier this year, Indonesian investigators submitted a report about the crash to the International Civil Aviation Organization, but the contents were not disclosed to the public.
Officials claimed that first officer Rémi-Emmanuel Plesel, who had significantly fewer flying hours than the more experienced Captain Iriyanto, was at the controls when the jet made an unusually steep climb. Indonesia's transport minister also said, citing radar data, that the plane made a steep climb before stalling and crashing into the Java Sea.
Meanwhile, Fernandes also mentioned the ongoing search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, stating that he supported better aircraft-tracking technology.
"I can't see why data can't be sent to the cloud every five minutes for instance," Fernandes reportedly said. "It's ridiculous in this day and age that you can find your iPhone but we can't find an aircraft."