A Malaysian navy ship recovered three more bodies believed to be from AirAsia Flight 8501, an official said early Monday, as crews again grappled with rough seas and poor visibility underwater in the search for more wreckage from the plane — including the missing jet's black boxes.
"KAS found another body at 1130G in Sector IV. The body and 2 found earlier were recovered onboard, 1 female and 2 unidentified," Abdul Aziz Jaafar, Malaysia's navy chief, said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, five ships were looking for the plane's data recorders using specialized equipment listening for pings from the flight, which crashed in the Java Sea on Dec. 28 as it traveled from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore — presumably killing all 162 people onboard. Search crews have identified five large objects believed to be from the jet, but the effort to retrieve the items temporarily stalled earlier Sunday when divers had to turn back because of bad visibility, said Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency.
A pilot in the Singapore air force, which is aiding in the bid to find the wreckage, said Sunday that the unpredictable weather had limited the launch windows for his air crew to conduct the search.
"We need to respond expeditiously and deploy within a short period of time. The rough open seas also make it slightly more difficult to land" on navy vessels, Capt. Ryan Tan said in a post on Facebook. "But the entire crew is well-trained and some of them also have prior experience from the MI185 incident," a previous plane crash.
Hopes ran high that the black boxes would yield clues as to what downed the plane. A preliminary report from Indonesia's meteorological office said weather was believed to have been the cause of the crash.
Thirty-seven bodies have been recovered from the Java Sea. More than a quarter of the people on the flight were members of Mawar Sharon Church in Indonesia, which mourned their deaths in a tearful service on Sunday.
— Miranda Leitsinger, Katy Tur, Sossy Dombourian and Amalia Ahmed