Bad weather hampers AirAsia flight recovery
PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia (AP) —
Bad weather hindered efforts to recover victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 on Wednesday and sent wreckage drifting far from the crash site, as grieving relatives prayed for strength to endure their losses.
"Help us, God, to move forward, even though we are surrounded by darkness," the Rev. Philip Mantofa, whose church lost about 40 members in the disaster, told families gathered in a waiting room at the Surabaya airport.
The massive hunt for 162 people who vanished Sunday aboard the Airbus A320 traveling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore, was severely limited due to heavy rain, wind and thick clouds.
Seven bodies, including a flight attendant in her red AirAsia uniform, have been recovered, said Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo.
Sonar images also identified what appeared to be large parts of the plane, but strong currents were moving the debris.
Conditions prevented divers from entering the choppy Java Sea, and helicopters were largely grounded.
But 18 ships scoured the narrowed search area, and four of the seven corpses were recovered Wednesday before the search was called off for the day.
Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency predicted conditions would worsen, with more intense rains, through Friday.
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