Family members of those aboard a downed AirAsia passenger jet were coming to grips with the fact that their loved ones did not survive, as efforts to recover the bodies have been hampered by bad weather.
"We have to handle with it," Yosef Samara, whose son, Hendra, was a passenger on Flight 8501. "Because we have to [face] the fact that he's on the airplane, and the airplane [crashed]."
Searchers have recovered a total of 16 bodies from the Java Sea. Seven were announced Friday morning, according to the Associated Press. One body has been identified as Hayati Lutfiah Hamid, officials said. Her body was placed in a coffin and buried quickly according to Muslim practices. There were 162 people aboard the jet when it lost contact with air traffic controllers on a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore on Sunday, and searchers have since located what they believe to be a large piece of the fuselage underwater.
Bernard Yosal’s daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren were on board. He took bitter solace in the fact that all were together. "My daughter was very afraid that her kids would die before her. I'm happy the fear is gone because they have died together," he said.
Heavy wind and rain hampered search efforts Thursday. Searchers have located a large dark shadow on the seabed that officials say could be the wreckage of the aircraft. France’s crash investigation agency has sent a team with expertise in searching for and recovering black boxes to aid in the search, Reuters reported.