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Indonesian rescuers say 3 bodies, not 40 recovered at AirAsia plane crash site

December 30, 2014, 17:15 UTC+3 SINGAPORE
The previous reports of 40 bodies being recovered emerged as a result of misunderstanding between rescue services working in the area
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© EPA/BAGUS INDAHONO

SINGAPORE, December 30. /TASS/. Indonesian rescuers recovered three bodies instead of earlier reported number of over 40 from the Java Sea, where a Malaysian passenger aircraft was discovered on Tuesday after it went missing over the weekend, Bambang Soelistyo, The head of Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency, said.

“We have recovered three bodies today and they are currently on board the [Indonesian Navy’s] Bung Tomo-class corvette,” he said adding that the discovered bodies belong to two females and one male.

Commenting on earlier reports that rescuers recovered over 40 bodies from the crash scene, Soelistyo said the information emerged as a result of “misunderstanding” between rescue services working in the area.

He also said that the rescue operation has been already suspended until Wednesday due to poor weather conditions in the area with waves reaching the height of up to two or three meters.

Indonesia is leading the search operation for the airliner, because the contact was lost with the jet, when it was flying in its responsibility zone. The search team includes representatives of Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore. The United Kingdom, India, Canada, China and the United States have also offered help in the operation. Russian Emergencies Situation Minister Vladimir Puchkov also offered Russia’s assistance.

The AirAsia jet was en route from Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia, to Singapore. About 40 minutes after the take-off the plane disappeared from the radar screens, presumably staying in the area of Kalimantan Island (Borneo). The Airbus A320-200 was carrying 155 passengers, including seven crewmembers. Most of the passengers were from Indonesia.

It was reported on Monday that the jet was requested at 6:12 a.m. local time to ascend to a higher altitude of 11,500 meters and to turn left to avoid bad weather. Local authorities allowed the plane to only turn left and continue the flight at the altitude of 9,700 meters (32,000 feet) as there was another plane in the vicinity.

Shortly after, the contact was lost near the Borneo Island over the Java Sea.

This is the third air incident this year involving Malaysia, where the low-cost airline in based. The plane’s loss comes after the still-unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March and the crash Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in mid-July in eastern Ukraine.

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