AirAsia flight QZ8501: Recovery of victims is our top priority, says President Joko

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (centre) said recovering the remains of victims and debris will remain the topmost priority of the search and rescue operations team out at sea near the crash site of AirAsia flight QZ8501. -- PHOTO: AFP
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (centre) said recovering the remains of victims and debris will remain the topmost priority of the search and rescue operations team out at sea near the crash site of AirAsia flight QZ8501. -- PHOTO: AFP

SURABAYA - Indonesian president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said recovering the remains of victims and debris will remain the topmost priority of the search and rescue operations team out at sea near the crash site of AirAsia flight QZ8501.

"We have located the crash site. We will launch major searchs by air and sea tomorrow," Mr Joko said while addressing the media.

AirAsia QZ8501 debris

The president is in Surabaya where various Indonesian agencies are working to recover the remains of the Airbus aircraft which was on its way to Singapore from Surabaya and which went missing with 162 people on board including children and infants.

"We will focus on recovery of passengers and crew members," Mr Joko said, adding that bad weather conditions are hampering the search operations at the moment.

Mr Joko also thanked neighbouring countries including Singapore, Malaysia and Australia for their assistance to trace the missing plane and recover debris.

About 30 ships and 21 aircraft from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the United States have been involved in the search.

The President also conveyed his condolences for the grieving family members of the victims, after search and rescue agency Basarnas said 40 bodies were recovered thus far.

"To families of victims, I can share their feeling of loss. We all pray for the families of the victims to stay strong," he added.

AirAsia QZ8501 search areas

AirAsia QZ8501 banner