INDONESIA, Jan 1 – Indonesian rescuers promised an “all-out effort” to search for bodies from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 as the weather cleared Thursday and international investigators joined attempts to locate the fuselage of the ill-fated plane.
Seven bodies have so far been retrieved from the Airbus A320-200 carrying 162 people, which crashed during a storm Sunday in the sea near the island of Borneo en route from Indonesia’s second city of Surabaya to Singapore.
Two of the dead – one male and one female – have been identified and would be handed over to relatives after formal confirmation Thursday, police said.
Rough weather Wednesday had hampered efforts to locate and retrieve more bodies but conditions had since improved.
“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. READ: First AirAsia bodies arrive at airport as bad weather hampers recovery
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.
Dozens of navy frogmen and search-and-rescue divers were in the area and ready to go once the fuselage is located, Sandi told AFP.
The plane is believed to be in relatively shallow waters of around 25-32 metres (82-105 feet).