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article imageStorms hamper recovery of bodies from AirAsia crash

By Nathan Salant     Jan 2, 2015 in Travel
Surabaya - Indonesian searchers recovered the bodies of seven of 162 victims believed to have perished in Sunday's crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 in the Java Sea off Borneo.
But bad weather limited visibility, grounded helicopters and otherwise hindered international efforts to account for the bodies of the 155 passengers and seven crew killed when the Airbus 320-200 jetliner went down on a routine flight from Indonesia to Singapore.
Seven bodies had been recovered as of Wednesday afternoon when harsh conditions forced the search to be called off, officials told Cable News Network (CNN).
The storm is the same one believed to have caused or contributed to the crash of the jetliner, which disappeared from radar screens shortly after taking off from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.
There still is no official explanation of what happened to Flight 8501 and resolution of the case may have to wait until searchers find the aircraft's two flight recorders, which are believed to have gone down with the jet.
One of the recovered bodies was wearing a flight attendant's uniform, according to Bambang Soelistyo, the chief of Indonesia's search and rescue department.
"Reality of seeing the evacuees and some of my aircraft parts are soul-destroying," said AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes in a post on Twitter.
Another Indonesia official, Muhammad Hernanto of Surabayo, said wreckage had been spotted on the bottom of the Java Sea, but his contention was disputed by others.
"I think that that's the case," Hernanto said.
But Fernandes said at a news conference that no wreckage had yet been spotted by underwater radar, despite some news reports saying the plane's fuselage had been located.
"Search and rescue teams are . . . are feeling more comfortable they are beginning to know where it is," Fernandes said.
"But there is no confirmation -- no sonar, nothing," he said.
"Until now, we haven't found the plane," Soelistyo said.
The first two corpses found off Borneo arrived Wednesday afternoon at a hospital in Surabaya on Wednesday afternoon to begin the identification process.
More about airasia, Plane crash, Asia, Borneo, Singapore
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