A tiny window of good weather was slammed shut Thursday as another round of wind and heavy rain impeded recovery operations for AirAsia Flight 8501.
Seven bodies have been recovered from the jet, which crashed into the Java Sea with 162 people on board Sunday.
Searchers began finding wreckage and corpses Tuesday, but have been continually blocked from more thorough searches due to Indonesia’ rainy season, which develops strong sea currents and moves debris.
While searchers had no success Thursday finding bodies as of late afternoon, authorities announced that they had identified one of the seven previously recovered bodies: flight attendant Hayati Lutfiah Hamid.
Singapore's navy sent in an unmanned underwater vehicle capable of surveying the seabed to try to help pinpoint the wreckage and the all-important "black boxes." Indonesia is using a minesweeper and a private survey ship that specializes in sea mapping, while aircraft capable of detecting metal also were deployed.
We are "focusing on finding the body of the plane," Indonesia air force spokesman Rear Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto told reporters. "There was something like a dark shadow once seen from a plane, but it cannot yet be proven as wreckage."
The seven bodies were recovered 100 miles off an area near Borneo Island. Remains were originally sent to Pangkalan Bun, but were transferred to Surabaya, where the aircraft originally took off.
Choppy conditions had prevented divers from entering the water Wednesday, and helicopters were largely grounded, but 18 ships continued to survey the narrowed search area.
Sonar images have identified what appeared to be large parts of the plane.
"It's possible the bodies are in the fuselage," said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun. "So it's a race now against time and weather."
What brought the plane down remains unclear. The jet’s last communication sought to switch course trying to go above bad weather, but were denied because of another plane over the top of them. Four minutes later, the plane disappeared from radar without a distress signal.
he cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders, or black boxes, hold data that will help investigators determine the cause of the crash but have yet to be recovered. Items recovered so far include a life jacket, an emergency exit door, an inflatable slide, children's shoes, a blue suitcase and backpacks filled with food.
Officials have not announced the identities of the recovered bodies. Relatives have given blood for DNA tests and submitted photos of their loved ones, along with identifying information such as tattoos or birthmarks that could help make the process easier.
The Associated Press contributed to this report