, INDONESIA, Jan 2 – Indonesian recovery teams narrowed the search area for AirAsia Flight 8501 Friday, hopeful they were closing in on the plane’s crash site, with a total of 16 bodies and more debris recovered from the sea.
French and Singaporean investigators with equipment for detecting the signal from the plane’s black boxes were set to join the hunt for the Airbus A320-200, which disappeared from radar during a storm Sunday en route from Indonesia’s second city of Surabaya to Singapore.
The plane crashed in the shallow waters of the Java Sea off Borneo but rough weather and high seas have hampered the search for the fuselage and the bodies of the 162 passengers and crew.
Search and rescue agency chief chief Bambang Soelistyo said Friday’s search was focused on an area of 1,575 nautical square miles, with 29 ships and 17 aircraft engaged in the operation. It is a tenth the size of Thursday’s search, which covered an area of 13,500 nautical square miles. READ: Indonesia vows ‘all-out effort’ in search for AirAsia victims.
“There are two main tasks in this priority sector: First, to locate the biggest part of the plane’s body.
“The second task is to find the position of the black boxes, or flight recorders, which will be carried out by the KNKT (National Transport Safety committee) which start working today,” he told a press conference.
“Divers are already on standby at the navy ship Banda Aceh to dive on that priority area to locate the body of the plane,” he said.
“I hope we’ll get a significant result today.”