AirAsia 'black box' search resumes

SURUBAYA - The search mission to find the flight data recorders from the crashed AirAsia passenger plane has resumed, as weather conditions improve over the Java Sea.

Flight QZ8501 was flying from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore on 28 December when it disappeared from radar.

Search teams have recovered 34 bodies but the remains of most victims are thought to still be in the plane.

Bad weather has hampered attempts to reach large objects thought to be the body of the plane.

Officials told the BBC's Indonesian service on Monday that sonar equipment had been deployed underwater, but that the weather meant no divers were yet back in the water.

Dozens of ships and aircraft are involved in the operation.

The four large objects thought to be debris from the plane were spotted on Saturday, with the largest measuring 18m (59ft) by 5.4m, at a depth of 30m.

A fifth object, measuring 9.8m by 1.1m, was located on the seabed on Sunday but teams could not reach them to confirm they came from the AirAsia flight.

Divers from Indonesia and Russia have been deployed to the search area, which has been enlarged to allow for tides sweeping bodies and debris further afield.

They attempted to survey more of the seabed on Sunday but "visibility at the sea bottom was zero", search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo said.

Remotely operated cameras were being used to try to photograph the objects, but waves up to 5m (16ft) high and strong currents made their use difficult.

National Search and Rescue deputy chief Tatang Zainudin said: "We are racing with time and weather in running this mission."

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