Royal Malaysian Navy successfully completes QZ8501 mission

This handout photo made available on December 31, 2014 by Malaysia's Ministry of Defence shows Royal Malaysian Navy search and rescue crews retrieving the emergency evacuation tube from AirAsia flight QZ8501 during their search and rescue operations in Indonesia's Java Sea.

PETALING JAYA - The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has officially completed search and rescue operations involving Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 that crashed into the Java Sea after 17 days on the mission.

RMN chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar said the mission officially ended at 6pm yesterday.

He said this followed the discovery of the main evidence of the crash - the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder - which were found on Monday and Tuesday.

"For 17 days, the RMN deployed five vessels - KD Pahang, KD Lekiu, KD Lekir, KD Kasturi and KD Perak - and a Fennec helicopter.

"KD Pahang was the first RMN ship to arrive at the operation site on Dec 29 followed by the other vessels.

"On average, each ship was assigned to carry out operations for eight days before leaving the search area to be resupplied," he said in statement yesterday.

The plane, with 162 people on board was flying from Surabaya to Singapore when it crashed on Dec 28.

Recapping the RMN's success in the mission, Adm Abdul Aziz said the navy managed to carry out its operations covering an area of about 22,000 square nautical miles.

"RMN ships managed to find and transport 10 bodies (four male, four female and two unidentified)," he said.

He said remnants of the plane and the victims' personal belongings were also transported by the vessels.

"RMN ships exhibited professionalism when they cooperated successfully with vessels and aircraft from other countries which were involved in the search and rescue operations," he said.