AirAsia flight QZ8501: Bad weather halts recovery process

This picture shows a view through a window onboard a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) C-130 aircraft during the search and locate (SAL) operation for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 over the Java sea on Dec 30, 2014. Recovery efforts were tempora
This picture shows a view through a window onboard a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) C-130 aircraft during the search and locate (SAL) operation for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 over the Java sea on Dec 30, 2014. Recovery efforts were temporarily halted on Tuesday evening due to bad weather. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - The recovery for AirAsia flight QZ8501 has been hampered by bad weather, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency said on Tuesday evening.

The team has temporarily stopped the operation for now, the agency's chief Bambang Soelistyo said, but will resume as soon as possible.

The main challenge in the recovery process is 2 to 3-metre high waves, he told a news conference in Jakarta,

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"Bodies evacuated will be brought to Pangkalan Bun, then we will put them in body bags then transport them to Surabaya for identification," he said.

"We will resume evacuation process even late tonight as long as high tides subside. We will use flare lights."

Three Indonesian navy vessels are at Karimata Strait in South East Belitung where the debris and bodies were found now.

Mr Bambang also said that just three bodies had been recovered so far in the search for the AirAsia plane which crashed in the Java Sea, after another official said 40 had been found.

"Today we evacuated three bodies and they are now in the warship Bung Tomo," he said, adding that they were two females and one male.

Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir told AFP earlier that according to naval radio a warship had recovered more than 40 bodies from the sea. But he later said that report was a miscommunication by his staff.

Three Singapore vessels are expected to arrive there on Tuesday night and help in the evacuation process.

Flight QZ8501 lost contact enroute from Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday morning.

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