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article imageIndonesia to end search for Flight 8501 victims on Sunday

By Nathan Salant     Mar 18, 2015 in Travel
Jakarta - Search and rescue officials in Indonesia plan to call off the search for victims of an AirAsia plane that crashed over the Java Sea in December even though the bodies of 56 of the plane’s 162 passengers were never found.
AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared from radar screens Dec. 28 during a flight from Sarabaya to Singapore; large pieces of the fuselage and the plane’s black boxes were recovered south of Borneo.
More than 100 bodies of passengers aboard the doomed Airbus A320 jet have been found.
"Some of our ships and personnel have been pulled back already and some remain on standby, but officially the operation will be finished on Sunday," a spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Yusuf Latif, told the Reuters news service.
International teams of searchers led by Indonesia’s military had difficulty locating the wreckage in the days immediately after the crash and recovery of the bodies and wreckage was hampered by the area’s swift currents and stormy weather, Reuters said.
The country’s National Transportation Safety Committee has revealed little information about the crash or its analysis of the flight recorders, but has said the plane’s co-pilot was at the controls when the jet crashed, Reuters said.
Sources told Reuters that the pilot was out of his seat to conduct an “unusual maneuver” when the jet plunged from the sky and crashed, but investigators reportedly found no evidence of that.
Written findings from the panel’s formal investigation should be made public within six months, Reuters said.
The AirAsia crash was the latest in a string of accidents to hit the southern Asia region’s fast-growing aviation industry, which has resulted in stepped-up pressure on governments and air carriers to improve safety.
Among the mishaps was the still-unresolved disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which was lost a year ago with 239 passengers on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and has never been found despite an exhaustive international search that still continues.
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