Indonesian SAR chief visits AirAsia fuselage site

Indonesian SAR chief visits AirAsia fuselage site

Piece tail section of AirAsia flight QZ8501 pulled aboard Crest Onyx ship after successfully lifted from the seabed by using floating bag by a joint team of Navy divers in the waters of the Java Sea, Saturday (Jan. 10, 2015). (ANTARA/R. Rekotomo)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Director of Operations of the Indonesia National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) S.B. Supriyadi announced that Basarnas Chief F.H. Bambang Soelistyo will visit the location of the fuselage of AirAsia flight QZ8501.

"Basarnas chiefs visit will inspire the members of the joint search and rescue teams who have worked until the 19th," Supriyadi stated here on Thursday.

He noted that several divers are trying to estimate the weight of the aircraft for the evacuation process using balloons.

"We need to find the weight in a bid to know what tools are required," he affirmed.

He said that the divers from the Navy, Geo Survey, and Basarnas are estimating the weight of the fuselage.

"We hope that we can retrieve the bodies of the victims that are trapped inside the fuselage," he noted.

Ocean currents reaching speeds of up to five knots have reduced visibility and hindered the search operations of the divers and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to identify the fuselage.

"We face numerous difficulties in the field for carrying out operations involving the ROV and divers," he noted.

We are computing the number of float balloons and method needed to retrieve the AirAsia fuselage.

Earlier, the National SAR Agency revealed that the team will focus their search for the bodies of AirAsia QZ8501 victims near the location of the fuselage.

"The target operation is still focused on the victims, and the search location is the site of the fuselage," Head of the National SAR Agency Bambang Soelistyo stated here on Wednesday.

The ship belonging to the Republic of Singapores Navy had found the fuselage on Wednesday (Jan. 14), at 3:05 p.m. local time. The fuselage was found 3 kilometers from the tail sections location and 800 meters from the flight data recorders location.

"The fuselage will be lifted up if the divers faced difficulties in searching for the victims on Thursday (Jan. 15)," Soelistyo stated.

The agency also received a report that a fisherman in Sembilan Island of Kotabaru District, South Kalimantan Province, had found two other victims of the QZ8501 flight.

The agency will immediately recover and identify the victims.

The SAR Agency has transported the bodies of the seven victims from Pangkalan Bun of Central Kalimantan Province to Surabaya on Friday (Jan. 8) to carry out further identification.

The team has found 50 victims of the QZ8501 air crash. The Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) team in Surabaya has identified at least 38 of the 50 bodies found.