AirAsia bodies washed up 600 miles from crash scene

JAKARTA - Bodies from the AirAsia flight that crashed into the Java Sea just over a month ago are being found more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) away from the crash site, local media reported Sunday.

Search teams and fishermen in Sulawesi have reported finding six corpses and debris from Flight QZ8501 over the past few days, propelled by monsoon winds and tides since the Dec. 28 disaster.

The main bulk of the Airbus A320-200 lies on the sea floor in the Karimata Strait, off the west coast of Borneo.

But increasingly, luggage and parts of the plane’s cabin and airframe, as well as the remains of some of the 162 passengers and crew, are being found at sea or washed up on beaches on the other side of Borneo, close to Indonesia’s Sulawesi island.

"Since the meeting of the monsoon and waves… bodies and parts of AirAsia are being forced towards the waters of Makassar and the surrounding area," metrological agency head Setiawan, who like many Indonesians only uses one name, told the Kompas.com news website.

Having spent more than a month in the sea, most bodies are incomplete and difficult to identify, although some have been found with identity documents on them.

On Sunday, fishermen found a body, thought to be that of a child, off the coast of Makassar, a city in southwestern Sulawesi.

MetroTV reported the remains were found close to the site of five previous discoveries.

Mansyur, head of the Regional Disaster Management Agency in Makassar, said: "The condition of the corpse is that of only half the body. Some bones were visible.”

Another fisherman reportedly found an antenna carrying the words “Emergency Locator Transmitter” and “Made in France” offshore from Mamuju Regency, on Sulawesi’s western coast.

Other debris includes a passport, a seat and upholstery.

Accordingly, the search has been expanded to the Makassar Strait, where it will cover an area of 1,800 nautical miles (6,200 square kilometers).

"The search area was made based on current and wind data," search coordinator Kusnadi said, quoted by Tempo.co news site. "As many as 180 personnel have been deployed, including from the Makassar police."

There are still 86 people missing from the flight that disappeared during a journey from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore in bad weather.

Teams resumed operations Sunday after a two-day break following weeks searching in rough seas. The Indonesian military, which had made up the bulk of the search members and equipment, withdrew on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, AirAsia began paying out compensation to passengers’ families Friday. One family has received 1.25 billion rupiahs ($98,000), Budi Cahyono, the president of Jasindo insurance company, told Detik.com.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency