AirAsia News Guide: Slow recovery, prayer for kin

AP News
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Posted: Dec 31, 2014 4:40 AM
AirAsia News Guide: Slow recovery, prayer for kin

An AirAsia jet with 162 people on board crashed Sunday morning while flying from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore on a scheduled two-hour flight. Here's a look at the latest developments:

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ROUGH SEA HAMPERS RECOVERY

Strong winds and 2-meter (6-foot) waves slowed down the recovery of bodies and debris from the Java Sea on Wednesday. A total of seven remains have been plucked from the sea since they were first spotted Tuesday. They include a female flight attendant in her red AirAsia uniform.

On Wednesday, strong currents prevented divers from deploying and pushed the bodies and debris toward beaches in Pangkalan Bun on Borneo island, 160 kilometers (100 miles) away from where they were first spotted.

Helicopters were largely grounded while ships continued to scour the area.

Sonar images also identified what appeared to be large parts of the plane, but Indonesia's forecasters said that the conditions would worsen with more intense rains through Friday.

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41 CHURCH MEMBERS ON THE FLIGHT

A Pentecostal church from Surabaya said 41 of its members were on Flight 8501.

Around 100 relatives prayed for their loved ones at a Surabaya airport hall Wednesday. The Rev. Philip Mantofa from Manwar Sharon Church urged the crowd to hold onto their faith despite their pain.

About 125 family members had planned to travel to Pangkalan Bun to start identifying the bodies. However, Surabaya airport general manager Trikora Hardjo later said the trip was canceled after authorities suggested it would slow down the operation.

Instead, relatives gave blood for DNA tests in Surabaya, where the bodies were being transported, and submitted photos of their kin along with other data, such as tattoos or birth marks that would make the process easier.

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MOTHER MOURNS 13-YEAR-OLD SON

Nearly all the passengers from Indonesia were frequent visitors to Singapore, particularly on holidays.

Among them was 13-year-old Adrian Fernando, who was with his aunt, uncle and cousin on his trip to the wealthy city-state before going back to school.

"He is my only son," said mother Linca Gonimasela. She could not join them because of work.

"At first, he didn't want to go, but later on he was persuaded to join them for the New Year holiday," she said.

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AIRASIA CEO: SEEING VICTIMS IS 'SOUL DESTROYING'

The CEO of Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia, Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes, tweeted Wednesday that the "reality of seeing the (victims) and some of my aircraft parts are soul destroying."

From Surabaya, Fernandes flew to Pangkalan Bun and praised Indonesian searchers for a "very professional job" despite the inclement weather.