2 more AirAsia crash bodies found, more debris spotted

Jakarta/Singapore: Amid reports of sighting of more debris by a Russian search team, divers today recovered two more bodies from choppy waters in the Java Sea, though there was still no trace of the crucial black box of the crashed AirAsia aircraft that crashed nine days ago.

Command operational director Suryadi Supriyadi told reporters at Pangkalan Bun city that Japan's JS Onami and Malaysia's KD Kasturi ships recovered a body each from the search site today, bring the total bodies recovered to 39 from the AirAsia plane which crashed on December 28 morning with 162 people on board. It was flying to Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya in East Java.

Onami and Kasturi are ships among vessels from several countries helping the Indonesians in the search and rescue operation. Divers had taken advantage of a respite in bad weather at the search site to conduct searches. "Some divers have started to dive to the seabed," the National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) chief Bambang Soelistyo said.

Meanwhile, media reports said a Russian team involved in the search operation has detected objects that could be AirAsia debris.

The objects were described as big, red, orange and white in colour. They also found a "black square" object, according to a report by the Jakarta Post. Search and rescue operation is focusing on retrieving bodies and finding the Airbus A320's black box, officials said.

Supriyadi, who is coordinating the operation from the southern Borneo town of Pangkalan Bun, said ships had been not detected any "pings" from the black box's emergency locator beacon, possibly because it was buried in the seabed.

"They haven't found anything, maybe because the water is turbid and there is zero visibility," he said. "There's a possibility it is buried in mud."

Indonesian searchers yesterday said they may have found what could be the tail of the crashed flight QZ8501, the section where the crucial black boxes are located. "We found what has a high probability of being the tail of the plane," Yayan Sofyan, the captain of an Indonesian patrol vessel, had said. However, the Indonesian search and rescue agency is yet to confirm the discovery.

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