AirAsia crash victim Hayati Lutfiah Hamid first to be officially identified after search teams found name tag on red uniform

Ms Lutfiah Hamid’s body has been returned to her family

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The Independent Online

The first victim of the AirAsia crash has been named by officials after she was identified by the tag on her red uniform.

Hayati Lutfiah Hamid's body has now been returned to her family, who held a funeral ceremony and buried her on Thursday.

Officials revealed her identity as the search for the more than 150 people still missing was hampered by heavy wind and rain. Flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday after pilots requested a change of course due to bad weather.

Colonel Budiyono of East Java's Disaster Victim Identification Unit said Ms Lutfiah Hamid was confirmed as the first victim by a fingerprint check. A second body that has been examined on land by the authorities remains unidentified.

Ms Lutfiah Hamid’s family were given her body, in a dark polished coffin topped with flowers, during a brief ceremony at a police hospital in Surabaya, the Indonesian city where the plane had taken off.

After a Muslim cleric said a prayer for the deceased, the coffin was immediately taken to a village and lowered into a grave, in accordance with Muslim traditions that require bodies to be buried as quickly as possible.

An imam said a simple prayer as about 150 people gathered in the drizzling rain, and red flowers were sprinkled over the mound of wet dirt with a small white tombstone.

Eight bodies have been recovered, including one brought today to Pangkalan Bun, the nearest town to where the wreckage was spotted on Tuesday.

Officials said today that the search effort is “a race now against time and weather”, in the middle of Indonesia’s rainy season and across strong sea currents.

Choppy conditions had prevented divers from entering the water yesterday, and helicopters were largely grounded, but 18 ships continued to survey the narrowed search area.

Additional reporting by PA

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