None of the victims of AirAsia QZ8501 were found wearing life jackets: Official

None of the victims of AirAsia QZ8501 were found wearing life jackets: Official
Indonesian Search and Rescue crews prepare to receive recovered bodies of AirAsia passengers recovered from the sea at the airport in Pangkalan Bun, central Kalimantan December 31, 2014.

None of the victims found from the ill-fated AirAsia flight QZ8501 were wearing life jackets, said an official from Indonesia's search and rescue agency Basarnas on Wednesday, contradicting earlier reports that one of the bodies was found wearing one, reported The Straits Times.

Basarnas operations deputy, Major-General Tatang Zaenuddin, was quoted by Detik.com news site as saying that a male victim was found, but not wearing a life jacket, said the English daily.

The life jacket and his body were found apart, he said, and confirmed that none of the bodies found had life jackets on.

In earlier reports, an official, Tatang Zaenudin, was reported as saying a body recovered from the crashed plane was wearing a life jacket, raising questions about how the disaster unfolded, reported Reuters.

The Straits Times said he had declined to speculate on what the find might mean.

Meanwhile, the search and rescue mission for the victims in the AirAsia crash is currently being hindered by bad weather, reported Reuters.

Rescue planes and helicopters sat grounded near the coast of the Indonesian island of Borneo on Wednesday as bad weather hampered the search for victims in the crashed AirAsia jet.

Officials were forced to suspend aerial missions as heavy rain and low visibility made it difficult to recover bodies four days after the Airbus A320-200 disappeared from the radar en route from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

"I went to the search area this morning and saw there was no way we could do a search," said Dwi Putranto, a senior air force official. "Now we are standing by in case remains can be evacuated,"he said, adding that over 100 divers and rescue workers were"ready to search".

Search and rescue official Sunarbowo Sandi said bodies and debris were being scattered by strong currents and monsoon weather conditions. "All the wreckage and bodies have drifted around 50 kilometres and we're expecting all the bodies will end up on the beaches around here," Sandi said.

"That is why we are searching all the beaches, because the current is moving." Seven bodies have been pulled from the sea so far, including one wearing a life jacket, an official said. Two of those bodies have been flown to Surabaya for identification.

The search area was narrowed to 120 square nautical miles and 22 ships continued to hunt for the remaining victims and for the plane's black box, said Putranto.

But the agonizing wait could be a long one for family members and rescue workers.

"The clouds are very low in the target area," Sandi said."Everyone is praying for more friendly weather."

wjeanne@sph.com.sg

 

 

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