The floating bodies and wreckage of the ill-fated aircraft were spotted in the Karimata Strait yesterday but only three bodies were retrieved as bad weather and high waves impeded the search and rescue operation.
The Air Asia flight QZ8501, with 162 people on board, is believed to have crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday morning while flying from Surabaya in East Java to Singapore.
Today’s search – supported by a multi-national expertise, ships and craft – will be focused on four sectors of 28 by 56 nautical miles, media reports cited Malaysia Chief of Navy Abdul Aziz Jaafar as saying.
The Malaysian naval team has joined Indonesia in the search and location process along with Singapore, South Korean and the US.
President Joko Widodo has ordered the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) to hold joint search operations with the focus on tracking down the passengers of the missing flight.
“We will first focus on finding the passengers and crew of the aircraft,” the Indonesian national news agency Antara quoted the President as saying.
Widodo inspected the assumed crash location from the C-130 Hercules aircraft and added the location was foggy and that there were strong waves.
He said several ships and helicopters will hold massive search operations today morning.
“I have ordered the Basarnas to hold joint operations to find the fuselage, as well as the passengers and crew members,” said Widodo, who expressed his appreciation of the efforts of search and rescue teams as well as fishermen for their support.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent condolences to his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo on the Air Asia tragedy.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also said he was deeply saddened to learn of the fate of AirAsia flight.
“It is always difficult and painful when a disaster like this happens. More so when it is so close to home, with many of the passengers having ties to Singapore,” said Lee in a posting on Facebook.
“My deepest sympathies and condolences to the families and loved ones of those on board, as well as the countries of the victims. We share your grief, and hope that you will overcome this great tragedy,” he added.