The search for the bodies of passengers of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 has resumed after bad weather hampered efforts to locate the victims, along with the fuselage of the plane, that crashed four days ago.
A break in bad weather raised hopes on Thursday that divers would be able to investigate what is believed to be the sunken wreck of the jet off the coast of Indonesia, and retrieve the black boxes that could explain the cause of the crash.
“The weather is clear today. We’re making an all-out effort to search for bodies and locate the fuselage,” search and rescue official Sunarbowo Sandi told the AFP news agency.
Stormy weather had temporarily forced search teams to suspend the recovery of the bodies from the plane that crashed off Borneo into the Java Sea.
The Airbus A320-200, carrying 162 people, fell from the sky while trying to climb above stormy weather early on Sunday, during a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.
The pilots did not issue a distress signal.
Seven bodies have so far been retrieved. Four bodies have been transferred to land from warships, with three more set to be moved on Thursday.
Some of the bodies recovered have been fully clothed, including a flight attendant still wearing her AirAsia uniform.
That could indicate the Airbus was intact when it hit the water and also support an aerodynamic stall theory. However, it is still unclear what brought the plane down.
On New Year’s Eve, about 100 of the victims’ relatives gathered at for a prayer service at Surabaya airport where Reverend Philip Mantofa, whose church lost about 40 members in the disaster, urged them to hold onto their faith.
In the centre of the capital Jakarta, people gathered to hold a prayer and candle light vigil, where traditionally residents gather to welcome the new year.
Most of the passengers on board the flight were Indonesians, with three South Koreans and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia, Britain and France. Al Jazeera