3 Bodies Found as Weather Blocks AirAsia Search
Fresh set of woes hits airline
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 4, 2015 9:42 AM CST
Relatives of Juanita Limantara, one of the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 crash, weep during the handover of her body to the family at a police hospital in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan....   (Firdia Lisnawati)
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(Newser) – Rough weather again prevented searchers from reaching a large object on the ocean floor believed to be the fuselage of the AirAsia plane that crashed a week ago. Rolling seas stirred up silt and mud, leaving divers with zero visibility, said the chief of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency. "At this moment, it's impossible to send any divers," he said. "We'll wait until the weather gets better." After detecting several large objects yesterday—the biggest measuring 59 feet long and 18 feet wide and believed to be the fuselage—officials said it was possible that many passengers and crew would be found inside. "My mind is still in a daze," says the brother of one passenger. "If there is a miracle, I hope they are alive, but I know this is tough. I just pray that we find their bodies."

Surabaya has been gripped by grief as bodies, one by one, continue arriving in simple, numbered coffins after being painstakingly pulled from the water. Three more corpses were recovered today, raising the total to 34. Also in AirAsia developments:

  • Late yesterday, some passengers panicked when the auxiliary power failed inside another AirAsia plane leaving from Surabaya. The lights and other electrical equipment shut down while the plane was still on the tarmac, and the pilot returned to the gate. Of the 161 passengers on board, 60 refused to fly and were given full refunds, AirAsia said, calling it "understandable, since the crash is still fresh in their minds."
  • Indonesia grounded AirAsia flights from Surabaya to Singapore, with the Transport Ministry saying the airline did not have a permit to fly on Sundays. However, Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority said that from its end, the airline had been approved to fly the route daily. AirAsia is reviewing the suspension.