Indonesian divers today finally reached the fuselage of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 that crashed last month, an official said, as four more bodies were recovered from the Java Sea.
Tony Fernandes-led AirAsia’s flight went down on December 28 in stormy weather with 162 people on board as it flew from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.
“Divers have reached the fuselage this morning but they could not get in because there were so many cables and debris,” SB Supriyadi, a rescue agency official coordinating the search told AFP.
Check out the conversation on Airasia flight QZ8501 on Twitter timeline:
He said bad weather later in the day hampered further efforts to check if there were bodies inside.
Rescuers have been trying in vain to reach the main body of the Airbus A320-200 since it was spotted on the seabed by a military vessel last week, but have been rebuffed by difficult conditions.
Officials hope the majority of the victims will be inside the fuselage, and plan a more thorough assessment of the wreckage to determine how to retrieve the bodies.
The four bodies found today were located among debris near the wreckage.
A total of 63 bodies have been found so far, Supriyadi said.
Divers recovered six bodies yesterday, some still strapped into their seats, near the main section of the plane.
The jet’s black boxes — the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder — were recovered last week, and investigators are analysing them.
Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said this week that the plane climbed abnormally fast before stalling and plunging into the sea.
Just moments before the plane disappeared off the radar, the pilot had asked to climb to avoid a major storm but was not immediately granted permission due to heavy air traffic.