Rescuers have discovered nine bodies of plane crash victims

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Jakarta, Jan 2 — Rescuers discovered nine bodies of victims of the ill-fated AirAsia flight QZ8501 until Thursday evening, the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said.

“A total of nine bodies have been found so far. Of the nine bodies, six have been flown to Surabaya (East Java), two are in Pangkalan Bun and one is still aboard Warship KRI Yos Sudarso. The body on the warship has not been transported yet due to bad weather,” Chief of the Basarnas Vice Marshall Bambang Soelistyo stated here on Thursday.

He added that the victims body could not be transported because bad weather conditions prevented the teams helicopter from landing on KRI Yos Sudarso. Waves around the ship had reached heights of 3 to 4 meters.

AirAsia flight QZ8501 is believed to have crashed in the waters of Karimata Strait near Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, during its flight from Surabaya, East Java, to Singapore on Sunday (December 28).

The ill-fated plane was carrying 162 persons, including two pilots, four cabin crew members, one technician and seven foreigners.

A Malaysian ship involved in evacuation operations recovered a body and luggage believed to be of the victim of AirAsia flight QZ8501 carrying 162 people from Surabaya to Singapore, which disappeared on Sunday (Dec. 28).

“According to the information we have received from the air force, a body and a luggage were found by a Malaysian ship, and the body was later transferred to a nearby hospital by a chopper of Basarnas,” a police officer of the DVI command post reported here on Thursday.

The body arrived at the Regional Public Hospital of Imanuddin in Pangkalan Bun at 11:40 a.m. Western Indonesian Standard Time for preliminary identification.

So far, eight bodies have been retrieved from the Java Sea, near Karimata Strait, some 95 nautical miles from Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan Province.

The bodies were firstly taken to Imanuddin Hospital and later transported to Surabaya, where the ill-fated plane had departed on Sunday.

The AirAsia plane carried 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, a Malaysian, a Singaporean, a British, and a French national.

The Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320-200 lost contact with air traffic control over the Java Sea early Sunday morning local time, merely few minutes after taking off from Juanda International Airport, Surabaya, East Java province.

The pilot reportedly had requested an altitude change to avoid clouds shortly before its disappearance, but apparently had issued no distress signal, Reuters quoted the Indonesian Transport Ministry as saying during a press conference.

The plane was believed to have crashed in the East Java Sea located between Sumatra and Kalimantan islands.

After four days of search and rescue operations, the joint team led by Basarnas and involving several institutions such as the Air Force, the Navy, the Police, and foreign ships, have so far discovered some debris including an emergency exit door and eight bodies.

Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the United States, China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Britain have lent assistance in searching for the missing plane and any investigation regarding the accident.