Reaching out to grieving relatives of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crash, Indonesia today said family members of the passengers have been offered a visit on board a naval ship to the search area in Java Sea.
Multinational efforts to scour the choppy waters have entered its second week after AirAsia Flight QZ8501 en route from Indonesia’s Surabaya city to Singapore carrying 162 people on board mysteriously crashed on December 28.
Searchers have found 37 bodies so far and efforts have focussed on locating the fuselage of the aircraft believed to contain remaining victims besides the black box, required to determine the cause of the crash.
The gesture is to “to lessen their sorrow and sense of loss”, Indonesia’s armed forces chief General Moeldoko said.
The relatives will be ferried from Surabaya – where the AirAsia crisis centre for relatives is located – to Pangkalan Bun via military flight, the Straits Times reported.
Speaking at a press conference at the East Java police headquarters after he visited relatives at the crisis centre, General Moeldoko said he assured family members that the armed forces are “working hard (to find bodies and the plane wreckage) with friendly countries”.
Indonesia’s police chief Sutarman said he also promised relatives that all bodies recovered will be identified.
“We are working to identify all bodies recovered, no matter the condition they arrive in, and to release them to their families,” he said.
The Disaster Victim Identification team at the Bhayangkara hospital, 100m away from the crisis centre and where all recovered bodies will be taken to, now comprises 260 local and foreign forensic experts, he said.
While fingerprint identification will take “just a matter of minutes”, other methods of identification such as through dental records and DNA testing will take longer, he said.
This is the first time both military and police chiefs are visiting relatives of the 162 people on board the ill-fated flight.
Out of the total 37 bodies recovered, 34 have been brought to Bhayangkara hospital. Only nine have been released to their families. The other 25 remain in cold storage here, waiting to be identified by forensic experts working round the clock, the report said.
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