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QZ8501: Bad Weather Hampers Search For Aircraft

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SURABAYA – Bad weather continued to hamper the search for the airplane of AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 which crashed in the Java Sea near Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan on Sunday.

Local media quoted an Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) spokesman as saying the operation to find the Airbus A320 plane and black box had been hampered becuase of inclement weather.

This included waves as high as five metres and wind speeds up to 35 knots apart from cloud volatility.

This has made it difficult for the Indonesian search team which is assisted by countries like Malaysia and Singapore.

Meanwhile, checks by Bernama at Hospital Bhayangkara here found next-of-kin of passengers and crew of the ill-fated flight waiting for the latest developments on the search and rescue (SAR) mission at a special room at the hospital’s crisis centre.

As of this morning, autopsies on the bodies of seven victims have been carried out including on the only victim identified so far, Hayati Lutfiah Hamid, from Sidoarjo, Surabaya.

Her remains were laid to rest here yesterday.

Several more bodies are expected to arrive at the hospital for autopsies and identification, depending on the weather conditions.

Meanwhile, a Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) centre spokesman said they were facing difficulties identifying the body of a male victim because his finger prints were damaged and thus could not be matched on the availablle finger print database.

He also said that so far, the next-of-kin of 107 of the 162 people on board the flight had provided DNA samples to assist the identification process.

Speaking on the same matter, East Java police public relations officer Awi Setyono said the identification process was not easy as there were stringent international protocols that had to be met.

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 crashed on Dec 28 while flying 155 passengers and seven crew from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore.

Those on board comprised 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, a Singaporean, a Malaysian, a Briton and a French. – BERNAMA

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