AirAsia Flight 8501: Searchers Race 'Against Time and Weather'

Indonesian soldiers carry coffins containing victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 upon arrival at Indonesian Military Air Force base in Surabaya, Indonesia, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015.PlayFirdia Lisnawati/AP Photo
WATCH More AirAsia Victims Pulled From Java Sea

Searchers trying to recover the dead from AirAsia Flight 8501 raced "against time and weather" today as wind and heavy rain prevented a lengthy search for wreckage of the plane.

Seven bodies have been recovered from the Java Sea where the plane crashed Sunday with 162 people on board. Strong currents and rough seas are believed to be moving debris, including what officials said early in the search appeared to be a large part of the missing plane.

"It's possible the bodies are in the fuselage," said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun, according to The Associated Press. "So it's a race now against time and weather."

Authorities hope sonar will lead them to the location of much of the plane's wreckage, including its "black boxes," which record the minute-by-minute account of what was going on both inside the engine and the cockpit, keeping track of what crew members were doing, as well as the mechanisms. The search area has been doubled to 13,500 square nautical miles.

The recovered bodies were taken to Bhayangkara Hospital in Surabaya. One was identified as Hayati Lutfiah Hamid, the AP reported.

Malaysian naval officials said it had spotted at least three more bodies floating in the sea but hadn't recovered them.

It's unclear what brought down the plane during its flight from Surabaya to Singapore. It lost contact with air traffic controllers over the Java Sea shortly after the pilots requested a change of flight plan because of weather.

PHOTO: Indonesian Air Force officials show AirAsia Flight 8501 debris during a press conference at the airbase in Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia, Dec. 30, 2014.Dewi Nurcahyani/AP Photo
Indonesian Air Force officials show AirAsia Flight 8501 debris during a press conference at the airbase in Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia, Dec. 30, 2014.

So far, an evacuation slide, a life jacket, an emergency side door and some luggage have been recovered. The water is less than 100 feet deep in the area where the objects were found, officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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