First AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 bodies arrive at airport as bad weather stalls search


THE search for more victims and the wreckage of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 is under way again, as DNA samples have been taken to help identify the bodies.

“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 AFP from Pangkalan Bun, a town on Borneo with the nearest airstrip to the crash site.

He said foreign experts would join Indonesian transport safety investigators in the search to locate the wreckage and retrieve the black boxes, which are key to determining the cause of the crash.

“Ten investigators from the national transport safety committee (KNKT) along with two French and two Singapore investigators will join the search today to locate the fuselage,” he said.

“We hope that an underwater beacon will be able to detect the weak signal transmitted by the ELT (emergency locator transmitter),” he added.

The transmitter sends a signal that helps rescuers to find a plane in the event of an accident.

Four bodies have so far been transferred to land from warships with three more set to be moved Thursday.

“Three helicopters are getting ready to hoist three remaining bodies from the navy ship to Pangkalan Bun,” he said, adding that rescuers managed to bring two bodies to the town late Wednesday.

Two other bodies have already been transferred to Surabaya where there are examination and identification facilities for 150 bodies.

Police have taken DNA samples and medical data from dozens of relatives of the victims to aid in identification of the bodies.

Indonesian divers were also photographed checking their gear as the recovery mission resumes.

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