JAKARTA – The Search and Rescue (SAR) operation for 92 remaining bodies of Airasia flight QZ8501 victims will continue despite not involving other parties such as the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI).
Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) head, Bambang Soelistyo said the withdrawal of TNI was not related to the ceasing of the operation as reported in the media.
“As the search and rescue coordinator, I have not called for the operation to be halted. As such the search operation will continue,” he told a news conference aired ‘live’ via MetroNews here today.
Bambang said the strength of Basarnas was not affected without TNI as Basarnas also has its own search system such as underwater search equipment carried out by a ship owned by the Special Task Force for Upstream Oil and Gas Business Activities (SKK Migas).
He said Basarnas has given the SAR team a two-day rest after working for a month in the seas.
Today is the 31st day the AirAsia aircraft, which was on its way from Surabaya to Singapore, crashed and so far SAR had recovered 70 bodies and, out of that, 55 bodies were identified and handed over to their respective next-of-kins.
Basarnas is now focusing on the search for bodies and does not carry out search for the aircraft wreckage.
The authorities had also started investigations after finding the black box of the plane last week following the lifting of the aircraft fuselage from sea base in Karimata Straits in Java Sea two days ago.
The Airbus plane was carrying 162 passengers and crew members from Surabaya to Singapore when it lost contact with the control tower, 40 minutes after takeoff on Dec 28. – BERNAMA