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Nine bodies recovered so far

Heavy seas prevented divers from reaching the possible wreck of the AirAsia plane yesterday, and an aviation official said it could be a week before the flight recorders are found.

Nine bodies have so far been recovered. Searches yesterday spanned an area of 13,500 sq km involving 19 ships, four helicopters and five planes, Mr Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency, told Reuters.

A search pilot spotted a large shadow in the sea, which rescuers believe may be the wreckage, but they have made it clear that the sighting has not been confirmed.

"Until now, there hasn't been a confirmed finding or sonar image of the plane body under water," Mr Soelistyo said.

The Republic of Singapore Navy's MV Swift Rescue reached the search area yesterday, joining the RSS Supreme, RSS Valour and RSS Persistence, the Ministry of Defence said.