PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia - Search teams trying to find the black box flight recorders from a crashed AirAsia jet and recover bodies of victims scrambled on Tuesday to take advantage of a brief respite in the bad weather that has frustrated the operation for the last nine days.
Indonesian officials believe they may have located the tail and parts of the fuselage of the Airbus A320-200 at the bottom of the Java Sea, but strong currents, high winds and big waves have hindered attempts to send divers to investigate.
Flight QZ8501 plunged into the water off Borneo island on Dec. 28, about 40 minutes into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. There were no survivors among the 162 people on board.
Jakarta has launched a crackdown on its fast-growing aviation sector in the wake of the crash, reassigning some officials and tightening rules on pre-flight procedures in a country with a patchy reputation for air safety.
Air force Lt Col Jhonson Supriadi, speaking from Pangkalan Bun, the southern Borneo town where the multinational search and recovery operation is based, said there was a narrow window of better weather early on Tuesday.
"It's pretty good. We will start searching as quickly as possible," he said, adding that the weather was expected to "get uglier again" later in the day.