40 Bodies From Missing AirAsia Flight Uncovered

Search teams looking for the missing AirAsia passenger jet have begun to recover several bodies from the Java Sea. According to The Guardian, Indonesian officials have also confirmed that scattered debris found near the site come from the plane.

Early Sunday morning, AirAsia flight QZ8501 lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control after departing from Surabaya, Indonesia. Shortly beforehand, the flight’s captain had asked to fly at a higher altitude due to bad weather conditions.

At 6:18 am, the jet disappeared from radar observations, prompting air traffic control officers to monitor its presence until 7:55 am. According to the Indonesian Transportation, the flight, which was headed to Singapore, went missing as it flew over the Java Sea, between Belitung and Borneo.  Following its mysterious disappearance, a major search operation, involving over 30 ships and 15 aircrafts, commenced. The initial investigation, however, failed to provide any further clues about the plane’s location. With no leads, the operation was halted momentarily for the night, although ships continued to keep their searchlights on.

It was resumed the next day, on Monday morning. At 12:50, rescue teams spotted the shadow of a plane beneath the water. In a statement posted on Facebook, AirAsia Indonesia confirmed that the debris uncovered belonged to the missing flight.

According to the Jakarta Post, Tri Wibowo, a co-pilot of one of the search planes, said he saw “dozens of floating bodies as well as bags and aircraft debris.” Objects were also found approximately 10km away from the site where the plane was last reported on radar.

AirAsia’s chief executive, Tony Fernandes states, “I am absolutely devastated.”

“This is a very difficult moment for all of us at AirAsia as we await further developments of the search and rescue operations but our first priority now is the wellbeing of the family members of those on board QZ8501.”

Meanwhile, Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, also arrived in Surabaya to meet with the family members of the victims.

Thus far, Bung Tomo, a navy warship that participated in the search effort, has retrieved 40 bodies from the sea, although none have been identified. They were not wearing life jackets.