AirAsia flight QZ8501: Two more bodies identified as Indonesia minister reiterates commitment to find all on board

Indonesian officers carry a coffin on its way to Surabaya during a search and rescue operation for a crashed AirAsia plane, at Iskandar Military Airport in Pangkalan Bunn, Central Borneo, Indonesia, on Jan 9, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Indonesian officers carry a coffin on its way to Surabaya during a search and rescue operation for a crashed AirAsia plane, at Iskandar Military Airport in Pangkalan Bunn, Central Borneo, Indonesia, on Jan 9, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA

SURABAYA - Two more bodies were identified on Saturday, as the Indonesian transport minister assured families and relatives that the priority of search teams was to recover all those on board Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501.

The bodies identified were that of Susandhini Liman, a 38-year-old woman, and Justin Giovanni, 9, Indonesian police said at a press conference at the East Java regional police headquarters.

The boy was travelling with his parents and his brother Nico, 18, who held a Singapore Ministry of Education scholarship and had studied at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and recently completed his first year at SAJC. Only his father Herumanto Tanus is still missing.

So far, 48 bodies have been taken to the hospital. A total of 162 people were on board the ill-fated flight, most of them Indonesian.

Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan, who visited some relatives at the crisis centre, assured them that the search teams would work to recover all passengers "whether alive or dead". He said all types of vessels were involved in the search, including fishing vessels.

The tail of the plane that crashed into the Java Sea was lifted to the surface using floating balloons on Saturday, but apparently without the crucial black box recorders, Indonesian authorities said.

The tail, which is where the black box data recorders were kept, was found in the seabed 30 metres below the surface and was finally lifted on to a vessel using giant floating balloons and a crane.

"We have lifted the tail onto the ship. It's red and white and a big part of the AirAsia logo can be seen," Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir told AFP.

But the black box recorders, which were crucial to explaining the disaster as they should contain the pilots' final words as well as various flight data, had likely been dislodged from the tail, said S.B Supriyadi, director with the Indonesian national search and rescue agency Basarnas.

The Airbus jet, carrying 162 people, went missing in stormy weather on Dec 28 as it was flying from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

(SOURCE: Reporting by Amir Hussain, AFP)