40 Bodies Recovered as Search Continues in Java Sea

AirAsia jet on the tarmac preparing to depart in Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia jet on the tarmac preparing to depart in Kuala Lumpur.

Searchers continue to find more bodies from the crashed AirAsia airliner that went down during a two-hour flight from Surabaya to Singapore on Tuesday.

So far, at least 40 bodies have been pulled from the Java Sea of the coast of Borneo, no survivors have yet to be found as almost three dozen ships and over 20 aircraft and helicopters comb the ocean whipped with 10-foot seas. Searchers initially thought that there were survivors waving to them from the ocean, but instead it was waves tossing the lifeless limbs of the deceased that the searchers had seen.

A shadow under the surface at a depth between 130-160 feet down can be seen, and recovery teams have begun to retrieve debris from the crash.

More sonar-equipped ships are headed to the area, including the USS Sampson, a missile-guided destroyer, in an attempt to locate the airliner’s black box. With the data from this device, experts will be able to assess if it was the storm that brought the aircraft down of if it was possibly caused by crew losing control of the craft.

Approximately 120 remain missing from the passenger list and crew roster that is made up of 149 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one Britain, one Malaysian, and one from Singapore. The crew included six Indonesians and a French co-pilot.

At just after 6 am, the twin-engine jet had asked for permission to fly over a storm cloud just before disappearing. That request was not granted because of heavy air traffic in the area, and the aircraft was told to go around the severe weather instead. The pilot had asked to increase his altitude to 38,000 feet from the altitude of 32,000 feet.

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