Divers hunt for victims in crashed AirAsia jet's main body

Divers hunt for victims in crashed AirAsia jet's main body
Dr Ng Eng Hen said that images taken by the Singapore ship show part of the wing and words on the fuselage of Air Asia flight QZ8501.

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia - Indonesian divers on Thursday descended to the main body of an AirAsia jet that crashed last month, hoping to recover the bulk of the disaster's victims, a day after it was finally located by a navy ship.

Flight QZ8501 went down on December 28 in stormy weather during what was supposed to be a short trip from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, with 162 people on board.

After a lengthy search often hampered by bad weather, a Singapore military vessel spotted the fuselage - the plane's main body - at the bottom of the Java Sea on Wednesday.

It is hoped that the main section contains most of the passengers and crew. So far just 50 bodies have been recovered.

Underwater photos taken by high-tech search equipment showed the fuselage and part of Malaysia-based AirAsia's motto, "Now Everyone Can Fly", painted on the plane's exterior.

Divers headed for the main section in the morning but bad weather and high waves meant they had to suspend the operation without being able to assess the condition of the wreckage, search and rescue agency official S.B Supriyadi told AFP.

Some divers descended again in the afternoon, he added.

National search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo has said that if divers had problems retrieving bodies from the wreckage while it is still on the seabed, officials would try to lift it.

The fuselage is attached to part of a wing, and the wreckage is 26m long.

Rescuers have already used giant balloons to lift the plane's tail out of the water, after it was found about two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the main body.

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