World

Strong currents force Indonesia to expand search area for wreckage of crashed AirAsia plane

  • A Muslim cleric pauses as he reads a book of Quran verses during a prayer for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 inside an Indonesian Air Force NAS 332 Super Puma helicopter flying over the Java Sea off Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia where the ill-fated jetliner went down, on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The Singapore-bound plane crashed into the sea 42 minutes after taking off on Dec. 28.  (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, Pool)

    A Muslim cleric pauses as he reads a book of Quran verses during a prayer for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 inside an Indonesian Air Force NAS 332 Super Puma helicopter flying over the Java Sea off Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia where the ill-fated jetliner went down, on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The Singapore-bound plane crashed into the sea 42 minutes after taking off on Dec. 28. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • A military ship is seen from Indonesian Air Force NAS 332 Super Puma helicopter during a search operation for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501, off Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The Singapore-bound plane crashed into the sea 42 minutes after taking off on Dec. 28.  (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, Pool)

    A military ship is seen from Indonesian Air Force NAS 332 Super Puma helicopter during a search operation for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501, off Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The Singapore-bound plane crashed into the sea 42 minutes after taking off on Dec. 28. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • CORRECTS PHOTOGRAPHER'S NAME - Indonesian Armed Forces Chief, Gen. Moeldoko, center, walks upon arrival following a search operation for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 at the airport in Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The search operation for AirAsia Flight 8501 will spread slightly eastward on Tuesday as the weather and currents drag wreckage in that direction, the head of Indonesia's rescue agency said. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

    CORRECTS PHOTOGRAPHER'S NAME - Indonesian Armed Forces Chief, Gen. Moeldoko, center, walks upon arrival following a search operation for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 at the airport in Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The search operation for AirAsia Flight 8501 will spread slightly eastward on Tuesday as the weather and currents drag wreckage in that direction, the head of Indonesia's rescue agency said. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)  (The Associated Press)

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.