Search continues for AirAsia jet

Singapore: Day after retrieving the cockpit voice recorder of the ill-fated AirAsia jet that crashed in the Java Sea, the multi-national search and rescue team today continued to scour the waters, even as Indonesian authorities moved closer to determine the sequence of events that brought the flight down.

Malaysia's Chief of Navy, Abdul Aziz Jaafar in a Twitter post this morning said, "#QZ8501 Day 18. Search continues with 23 ships as assigned. Foreign warships on standby." A multi-national search and rescue (SAR) team is supporting the Indonesian efforts to evacuate bodies and debris from the doomed AirAsia flight which plunged into the Java Sea with 162 passengers and crew onboard on December 28.

Forty-eight bodies have so far been recovered along with the black box containing flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. AirAsia said 36 of the bodies recovered from the sea have been identified, while 12 are still being identified. Indonesia's National Transport Safety Committee head Tatang Kurniadi said, last night "100 per cent of the things we need are now in our hands" to investigate the accident.

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief, Marshal Bambang Soelistyo, has assured the families of those on QZ8501 flight that the main SAR operation is still on-going and their main priority is to search and recover the passengers despite weather and underwater current challenges.' Bad weather and strong undersea currents has slowed the SAR operations since the Airbus 320-200 crashed in the Java Sea.

The cockpit voice recorder, that possesses the last two hours of conversation between the pilots and with air traffic controllers, was found close to where the flight data recorder was recovered from the bottom of the choppy waters. The flight had lost control with the ATC tower in Jakarta when flying from Surabaya in East Java to Singapore on Sunday morning of December 28.

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