Singapore: The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) on Sunday, officially ended its deployment in the multinational search operation for the AirAsia plane, which crashed in the Java Sea Dec 28, with 162 people on board, the SAF said in a press release.
The Singapore Navy ship MV Swift Rescue, which found the fuselage of the ill-fated plane, returned to the Changi Naval Base Sunday morning, Xinhua reported, citing the SAF.
Singapore's Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen along with senior SAF officers, received MV Swift Rescue at the naval base, and a minute of silence was observed for the victims of the accident.
Ng praised the contributions of those who took part in the search operation.
"Our SAF servicemen and women gave their best efforts for the search operations," he said, adding that "their efforts helped bring closure to the families of the victims and provide answers to the cause of the accident".
The cockpit voice recorder, a part of the black box of the crashed plane, was retrieved Tuesday from the Java sea floor and the main section of the fuselage of the aircraft was located Wednesday.
Rescue teams have so far recovered 48 bodies out of the 162 people who were aboard the aircraft.
The return of MV Swift Rescue marked the end of SAF's 22-day deployment, in which more than 400 personnel, two C-130 aircrafts, two Super Puma helicopters, five navy ships, and a six-man Autonomous Underwater Vehicle team assisted in the search operations, SAF said.