Strong currents forced Indonesia to expand the search area for the missing AirAsia plane Tuesday, as efforts to reach the wreckage and black boxes beneath the sea became increasingly desperate.

With only 37 bodies recovered since Flight 8501 crashed Dec. 28, there were also concerns that it will become harder to find the remaining 125 corpses.

"Time is of the essence," said National Search and Rescue Agency's director of operation Suryadi B. Supriyadi. "But it seems like it is hard to beat the weather."

Indonesia has suffered a string of accidents since it deregulated its aviation industry in the 1990s, with dozens of new carriers making air travel affordable for the first time for many in the world's fourth most populous nation.