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30 Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Wreckage, Officials Say

Members of the National Search And Rescue Agency carry coffins containing bodies of the victims aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 to transfer to Surabaya at the airport in Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia, on Friday. Officials say 30 bodies have been recovered so far.
Achmad Ibrahim

Indonesian officials say 21 more bodies from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 were recovered today from the Java Sea, bringing the number of bodies found from the air disaster to 30.

The Associated Press quotes an Indonesian official as saying five of the bodies recovered today were still strapped to their seats.

Since the flight disappeared on Dec. 27 en route from Surabaya to Singapore, weather has been an ever-present obstacle to the search.

The bulk of the 162 passengers and crew from the flight remain unaccounted for. The search is currently focused on an area of about 1,500 square nautical miles in the Java Sea off the Indonesian half of the island of Borneo, known as Kalimantan.

Four crash victims have been identified and returned to their families, including a flight attendant and an 11-year-old boy, the AP says.

Vessels from the U.S. and three other countries are helping look for the aircraft's so-called "black box" recorders.

Most of the passengers are thought to be inside the Airbus A320's fuselage, which has yet to be located.

"Waves were between three and four metres today, making it difficult to load bodies onto ships and [move them] between ships," Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, was quoted by the BBC as saying.

"Tonight we are sending tug boats which should make the [body] transfers easier," Soelistyo told reporters in Jakarta, according to the BBC.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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