Jakarta/Singapore: Rescuers on Tuesday retrieved two more bodies and spotted two new metal objects in their search for the AirAsia plane that crashed nine days ago as divers joined the hunt amid bad weather, but there was still no headway in locating the crucial black box in the Java Sea.
The development takes the total number of bodies retrieved so far to 39 and the number of objects located on the seabed and believed to be from the Airbus 320 to seven.
Multi-national searchers equipped with sophisticated acoustic equipment have been scouring the choppy waters to retrieve the bodies of victims and the debris as well as the aircraft's black box recorders, required to determine the cause of the fatal crash.
But persistent bad weather with strong currents, huge waves and high winds has hampered efforts to reach the fuselage believed to contain remaining victims besides the black box.
Japan's JS Onami and Malaysia's KD Kasturi ships recovered a body each from the search site today, bringing the total bodies recovered to 39 so far, Command operational director Suryadi Supriyadi told reporters at Pangkalan Bun city.
Onami and Kasturi are ships among vessels from several countries helping the Indonesians in the search and rescue operation after AirAsia Flight QZ8501, en route from Indonesia's Surabaya city to Singapore carrying 162 people on board, mysteriously crashed on December 28.
A US navy ship located two large metal objects on the seabed using sonar signals, though it is not known yet if they are part of the plane, the National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) chief Bambang Soelistyo said.
After days of waiting to join search efforts, divers took advantage of a respite in bad weather at the site to conduct searches today.
"Some divers have started to dive to the seabed.
"Divers were ready on the ship but the challenges were currents and waves," Soelistyo said at a press conference in Jakarta this evening.
Meanwhile, media reports said a Russian team involved in the search operation has detected objects that could be wreckage from the ill-fated plane. The objects were described as big, red, orange and white in colour.
They also found a "black square" object, according to a report by the Jakarta Post.
Supriyadi, who is coordinating the operation from the southern Borneo town of Pangkalan Bun, said ships have not detected any "pings" from the black box's emergency locator beacon, possibly because it was buried in the seabed.