Indonesia is set to end the search for passengers still missing after an AirAsia jet crashed into the Java Sea late December. While more than a hundred bodies have been recovered, dozens are unaccounted for.
The search will soon end for the bodies of 56 people still missing from AirAsia flight QZ8501, which crashed amid stormy weather in the Java Sea midway through a two-hour flight from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore on December 28.
All 162 people aboard the Airbus A320-200 were killed. In total, 106 bodies have been recovered including three over the weekend.
"Some of our ships and personnel have been pulled back already and some remain on standby, but officially the operation will be finished on Sunday," spokesman for the search and rescue agency Yusuf Latif told the Reuters news agency.
The black box flight data and cockpit voice recorders were recovered and are being analyzed to determine what caused the crash. Few details have been released, but investigators have said the plane climbed abnormally quickly before it crashed.
Search efforts - often hindered by bad weather - have been winding down in recent weeks, with the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency saying the decision to end them completely had been made after consulting victims' relatives.
"The search should have ended much earlier but out of respect for family members, we extended the operation until we completely ended it yesterday [Tuesday]," he told news agency AFP.
Hadi Widjaja, whose son and daughter-in-law were on the flight, said his family appeaciated the work of the searchers, who had found his son though his daughter-in-law remained missing.
"Her parents and my family have let her go in peace. We have to accept this sad reality," he told AFP.
se/bw (AFP, Reuters)