QZ8501: Search area shifts east

Flight QZ8501 is the first fatal accident ever suffered by AirAsia
QZ8501 was carrying 162 passengers and crew

The search effort for AirAsia flight QZ8501 has been shifted eastwards, Indonesian officials said on Tuesday.

The National Search & Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said that strong currents could have moved dragged the wreckage, making it necessary to expand the search area. But bad weather continues to hamper the recovery effort.

“Time is of the essence… but it seems like it is hard to beat the weather,” Basarnas’ director of operations, Suryadi B. Supriyadi, was quoted saying by the Jakarta Post.

He added that divers trying to reach the wreckage were forced to return to their ships on Monday, as strong current as rough seas posed a risk to their safety.

Thirty-seven bodies have now been recovered, but Basarnas believes that the majority of the victims remain trapped in the aircraft’s fuselage.

Five vessels have now been deployed to search for the aircraft’s black boxes – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – using special ‘pinger locators’. Other debris has been recovered from the sea, including passenger seats and oxygen masks.

A total of 162 passengers and crew were onboard flight QZ8501 when it crashed en route from Surabaya to Singapore on 28 December 2014.

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