MIAMI — Despite bad weather, the mission by The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) to recover bodies from the crash site of Air Asia QZ8501 continues in the Karimata Strait area. As of December 31, BASARNAS confirmed that it has found the remains of seven passengers. The bodies were transported to the military base in Pangkalan Bun, Borneo, with two then transported to Bayangkara Hospital in Surabaya for identification by Disaster Victim Identification of Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI).

The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) stopped its search for bodies in the aftermath of the crash of Air Asia Flight QZ8501 earlier today because of bad weather affecting the site, in the Java Sea. Debris from the crash was discovered on December 30 in the Karimata Strait around 110 nautical miles south west from Pangkalan Bun in the Java Sea.

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Before the search ended, investigators found aircraft parts, luggage and seven bodies at the scene. Two bodies were found and flown back to Surabaya, Indonesia. AirAsia Indonesia employees are at the site and are fully cooperating with BASARNAS, the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), and relevant authorities on the investigation.

In a press release, the carrier said it will be inviting family members to Surabaya, where a team of care providers will be assigned to each family to ensure that all of their needs are met. The airline has also made counsellors, religious and spiritual personnel available to family members to provide any necessary services.

“I am absolutely devastated. This is a very difficult moment for all of us at AirAsia as we await further developments of the search and rescue operations but our first priority now is the wellbeing of the family members of those onboard QZ8501,” said Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia in a statement.