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AirAsia crash French copilot’s body found off Indonesia

Indonesian rescue workers unload bodies taken from the wreckage of AirAsia flight QZ8501
Indonesian rescue workers unload bodies taken from the wreckage of AirAsia flight QZ8501 Reuters/Beawiharta

Divers have recovered a body they believe to be that of the French co-pilot of the AirAsia flight QZ8501, which crashed into the sea off Indonesia last December with 162 people on board.

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The body that is believed to be that of Remi Plesel was found in the front part of the fuselage during a search operation on Friday.

It is in poor condition due to its time in the water but is wearing a uniform with a co-pilot’s insignia.

"It is likely the body of the French co-pilot, wearing uniform with three stripes on [the] shoulder," search and rescue coordinator SB Supriyadi told the AFP news agency.

A formal confirmation will be given after the Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) team finishes identifying the body, he explained.

The AirAsia A320-200 crashed into the sea when flying between the Indonesian city of Surabaya and Singapore on 28 December.

It was later found 30 metres under water.

Indonesian investigators last month said that Plesel was flying the plane at the time of the crash, rather than Captain Iriyanto, an experienced former fighter pilot.

His family insist he was an "excellent" flyer.

Divers also found three bodies in the main body of the plane on Friday, bringing the total number retrieved to 101, Supriyadi said.

Rescuers are still trying to raise the fuselage from the seabed using giant inflatable bags, although previous attempts have failed.
 

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