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Indonesia to continue AirAsia search operation sans military

Indonesia`s National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) chairman Bambang Soelistyo on Wednesday said an operation to search for bodies of victims and wreckage from the crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501 would continue despite the end of the military`s participation in the mission.



Jakarta: Indonesia`s National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) chairman Bambang Soelistyo on Wednesday said an operation to search for bodies of victims and wreckage from the crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501 would continue despite the end of the military`s participation in the mission.

Bambang told a press conference at the BASARNAS headquarters that the search operation would resume Saturday, to be carried out by BASARNAS elements.

"We will give two days off for teams taking part in the operation as they have not taken rest for one month. Besides that, the days off would be used to supply necessities for vessels and crews for the upcoming operation," Xinhua news agency quoted Soelistyo as saying.

He pointed out that the pulling out of the military from the operation would not weaken the capabilities of search teams.

The main focus of the multinational operation comprising Indonesia, Australia, the US, Russia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea, was recovering more bodies after two black boxes and the tail section of the Airbus A320-200 were retrieved earlier this month. 

Soelistyo said BASARNAS would engage all of its resources, including vessels and helicopters, in the upcoming operation.

Besides that, the operation would be assisted by local government of West Kotawaringin regency, which has been facilitating the search operation, and traditional divers and professional divers working for an offshore oil mining facility.

"We have 26 divers of our own. Some 20 others from the SKK Migas would join the operation along with traditional divers. Eight experts will also join in," Soelistyo said. SKK Migas is Indonesia`s oil and gas industry regulator agency.

An advanced search programme was underway to support the search, he added.

On Tuesday, the Indonesian military pulled out of the search operation after 31 days.

All military personnel involved in the operation were told by the nation`s military commander to return to their bases as no more bodies were found from the plane`s wreckage in the past two days.

The search operation started on December 28 when the Singapore-bound plane crashed into the Java Sea amid bad weather 40 minutes after takeoff from the Indonesian city of Surabaya in East Java.

As of now, 70 bodies of a total of 162 people on board the ill-fated aircraft have been recovered. 

From Zee News

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