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South Korean plane finds six bodies of AirAsia crash victims

January 2, 2015
Crew of Indonesian Air Force C-130 airplane of the 31st Air Squadron scan the horizon during a search operation for the missing AirAsia flight 8501 jetliner over the waters of Karimata Strait in Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014. Search planes and ships from several countries on Monday were scouring Indonesian waters over which the AirAsia jet disappeared, more than a day into the region's latest aviation mystery. Flight 8501 vanished Sunday in airspace thick with storm clouds on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Crew of Indonesian Air Force C-130 airplane of the 31st Air Squadron scan the horizon during a search operation for the missing AirAsia flight 8501 jetliner over the waters of Karimata Strait in Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014. Search planes and ships from several countries on Monday were scouring Indonesian waters over which the AirAsia jet disappeared, more than a day into the region’s latest aviation mystery. Flight 8501 vanished Sunday in airspace thick with storm clouds on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

(Yonhap) — A South Korean maritime patrol aircraft on a search mission for victims of a crashed AirAsia jet found six bodies Friday, Seoul’s defense ministry said.

The South Korean Navy’s P-3C plane was dispatched on Tuesday to join the international search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 that smashed into the Java Sea last week with 162 people on board en route to Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya.

A South Korean couple and their baby were confirmed to be on board the plane.

“The P-3C plane spotted six bodies presumed to be victims of the disaster at around 2 p.m. today (Seoul Time) at the Java Sea, and five of them were recovered by the Indonesian authorities,” a defense ministry officer said, requesting anonymity.

The discovery brought the total number of victims of the deadly disaster to 22, he said, adding that adverse weather conditions hampered the recovery efforts.

“The operations to recover the remaining body have been under way, and the identities of the bodies found today would be confirmed later,” the officer said. “We will strive further to find more victims.”

So far, no one has been found alive.

South Korea plans to dispatch a seven-member government team to Indonesia on Saturday to help the search operations, according to the foreign ministry.

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