Indonesian rescuers have resumed their search for 86 victims still missing from the AirAsia plane that crashed on December 28.
Flight QZ8501 went down in the Java Sea in stormy weather with 162 people on board, during what was supposed to be a short trip from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.
National search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo last week said search and rescue teams were given two days’ break after weeks searching in inhospitable conditions.
From Sunday 68 divers from the national search and rescue agency, as well as others from companies and clubs, will focus on scouring the fuselage of Flight QZ8501 and the sea bed for remaining bodies, he said.
Meanwhile the ABC reported on Sunday that the captain of the AirAsia jet was out of his seat conducting an unorthodox procedure when his co-pilot apparently lost control, two people familiar with the investigation say.
According to reports, the two sources said by the time the captain returned to the controls of flight QZ8501 it was too late to save the plane.
The ABC has been unable to independently verify the reports.
So far 76 bodies have been recovered following the plane crash on December 28.
“Search operations have resumed. Our focus today is to find bodies that could be trapped in the fuselage, or buried in mud,” search and rescue official SB Supriyadi said.
“The weather is good, and the waves were only a metre high, (and) six boats are in the search area,” he said.
The search mission has been expanded to the island of Sulawesi after fishermen found bodies with identity documents matching the passengers on the ill-fated flight.
The Indonesian military, which has provided the bulk of personnel and equipment for the operation, withdrew from the search on Tuesday.
But Mr Supriyadi said the current group also comprised of competent divers.
“Skills-wise, they are as good as those from the military as they have experience helping to evacuate sunken boats before,” he said.
“We hope we can still find the remaining bodies.”
– with AAP