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Air Asia crash: Search for bodies ‘could end soon’

It comes a day after the military said it was suspending its operation to retrieve the fuselage from the seabed as they believe no bodies are inside.

The plane was flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore on 28 December carrying 162 people when it crashed.

More than 90 people are still missing.

Bambang Soelistyo, the chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), told reporters on Wednesday that search teams were not affected by the military’s pull-out.

They were taking a few days’ rest but would resume their operation on Saturday at the latest.

“After seven days we will evaluate whether the operation will be extended or shut down. It will depend on the dynamics of what happens within the seven days,” he said.

“If we can find one or two more bodies, that means we have the opportunity to prolong the operation,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Authorities had initially thought that most of the missing bodies would be inside the sunken fuselage, now but believe that is no longer the case.

Agency official S B Supriyadi told AFP news agency that the bodies “could be on the seabed, or have been swept away by waves and currents”.

Basarnas are using helicopters, four ships and both professional and volunteer divers in their search.

The team identifying victims who have been found will still remain in operation and stationed in Surabaya, said Mr Soelistyo.

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