AirAsia Wreckage And Bodies Found



Indonesian authorities reported Tuesday that a warship had recovered several bodies in the Java Sea confirmed to have been victims of AirAsia Flight 8501, which vanished on a flight from Surbaya to Singapore on Sunday. Indonesia’s Strait Times said late Tuesday local time that the corvette Bung Tomo reported that more bodies are expected to be recovered. In addition, wreckage believed to be from the aircraft was also spotted, including what may be a large fuselage section.

“We’ve confirmed the wreckage was from the body of the plane,” Djoko Murjatmodjo, a senior government transportation official, told The New York Times on Tuesday. In addition to bodies and wreckage, the searchers also found suitcases and life vests and at least one recovered body that was not wearing a life vest, according to local media reports.

AirAsia Flight 8501, an Airbus 320-200, was carrying 162 passengers and crew. It dropped out of radar coverage early Sunday morning about 40 minutes after departing Surabaya, on the island of Java. When it disappeared, the aircraft was over the Java Sea, southeast of Belitung Island, off the southwest coast of Borneo. The debris and bodies were found southeast of the last known position of the aircraft. The debris field appears to be about 66 miles from the last radar position.

“My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501,” Tony Fernandes, the founder of AirAsia, wrote in a Twitter message after the debris sightings were confirmed. “On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am,” he added.

The U.S. has dispatched a destroyer to assist in recovery operations and the Indonesian government has accepted similar offers from South Korea and China. Finding the main wreckage is expected to be more straightforward than most sea searches because the Java Sea is relatively shallow, at about 160 feet at its deepest point. However, monsoon conditions, with low cloud and heavy rain, exist over the Java Strait this time of year. Flight 8501 was believed to have been deviating to avoid an area of weather when it went down.