SURABAYA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s top search and rescue official said Tuesday the agency’s main task was still to recover bodies of passengers aboard crashed AirAsia Flight 8501 and floating wreckage, but that a separate focused attempt to reach the fuselage and tail of the plane on the ocean floor was also underway.
A break in the weather early Tuesday allowed divers and ships with special sonar detection equipment to search in an area of shallow water where officials believe the fuselage and tail of the plane containing its ‘black box’ data recorder may be located, Indonesia Search and Rescue Chief Bambang Soelistyo said during a morning news conference in Jakarta. He said a new priority search area was created to designate the boundaries of the hunt for the body of the plane.
The AirAsia Airbus A320-200 crashed into the sea off the coast of Borneo on Dec. 28 with 162 people on board. There were no survivors.
Early on the tenth day of searching, a total of 37 bodies had been recovered, Soelistyo confirmed. The entire search area was also expanded somewhat Tuesday to 22,110 square nautical miles, Abdul Aziz Jaafar, Malaysia's navy chief, said on Twitter.
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— Katy Tur, Sossy Dombourian and Amalia Ahmed