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Rescue teams searching for wreckage and victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 recovered 21 bodies Friday in what appears to be the most productive search day since the flight disappeared off the coast of Borneo last week.

The bodies, recovered mostly by a U.S. Navy ship, bring the number of corpses pulled from the sea to 30. Some of those bodies were still belted into their seats, officials say.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the Airbus A320 carrying 162 passengers and crew to go down last Sunday. Shortly before disappearing, the pilot requested to fly higher to avoid storm clouds. He was denied permission because of heavy air traffic.

From Mashable:

In addition to looking for victims, Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said ships from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the U.S. are scouring the ocean floor as they try to pinpoint wreckage and the all-important black boxes.


The data recorder contains crucial information like engine temperature and vertical and horizontal speed; the voice recorder saves conversations between pilots and other sounds coming from inside the cockpit.


Toos Saniotoso, an Indonesian air safety investigator, said investigators “are looking at every aspect” as they try to determine why the plane crashed. “From the operational side, the human factor, the technical side, the ATC (air-traffic control) — everything is valuable to us.”


Bad weather, which has hindered the search for the past several days, remained a worry. A drizzle and light clouds covered the area Friday morning, but rain, strong winds and high waves up to 4 meters (13 feet) were forecast until Sunday. Strong sea currents have also kept debris moving.


That has severely slowed recovery efforts, as well, as bodies drift farther and farther away.

So far, four victims of the 30 pulled from the sea have been identified and returned to their families. That number includes a 12-year-old boy and a flight attendant.

Our prayers are with the victims’ families as the search continues. We’ll keep you updated with the latest.

SOURCE: Mashable | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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