AirAsia plane debris, floating bodies found in sea
Jakarta/Singapore: The debris of the missing AirAsia plane along with floating bodies of some of the 162 people on board were spotted today in the Java Sea off Indonesia, close to the area where contact was lost with the aircraft on Sunday morning.
Indonesian Transportation Ministry’s acting director general of air transportation, Djoko Murjatmodjo, confirmed that that wreckage discovered in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, was from AirAsia flight QZ8501.
“It has been confirmed that it is debris from an aircraft bearing red and white colours,” Djoko said, citing that the debris was found by the ministry’s rescue team.
“The recovery process will now be centered in the debris location in coordination with Basarnas (the National Search and Rescue Agency),” he said.
Later, an air force plane spotted a “shadow” on the seabed believed to be that of the Airbus A320-200, Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo told reporters.
“God blessed us today. At 12:50 the air force Hercules found an object described as a shadow at the bottom of the sea in the form of a plane,” he said.
Indonesian officials said they recovered several bodies floating in waters near the area where the missing plane was last seen.
Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir confirmed the discovery to a TV station but did not comment on whether they were dead or alive.
National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman M Yusuf Latif said that a maritime patrol aircraft from the Indonesian Air Force first discovered the debris during a search.
Ten pieces of debris were found during the search for the ill-fated AirAsia Indonesia aircraft southwest of Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan.
The location of the debris matched information from two fishermen in Pangkalan Bun who said that they heard a thud and saw explosions on Sunday morning, he was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.
After the discovery was made, the Indonesian agency immediately dispatched a chopper to the location.
“We are ordering two members of the Basarnas team to retrieve the debris using hoists,” Yusuf said.
The Airbus A320-200 was carrying 155 passengers — one British, one Malaysian, one Singaporean, three South Koreans, 149 Indonesians — and seven crew members — six Indonesians and a French co-pilot.