It may be a sad ending to the search for the missing AirAsia flight as crews have located bodies and plane debris in the water. Authorities believe that the wreckage is that of the missing airliner, as it is within the Java Sea and around the right flight path. An Indonesian official used a press conference to confirm the find.
National Search and Rescue Agency for Indonesia head Bambang Soelistyo also confirmed that a shadow that has a plane shape has been spotted in the water. So far, three bodies have been retrieved, along with other objects that looked to belong to the airliner.
Items possibly belonging to the plane were spotted around the area where air traffic control last had contact with the pilot. Soelistyo explained that the water is no more than 100 feet deep, and divers are being sent in to see if this really is the missing AirAsia plane. The relatives of those on board the flight crowded together and cried when they heard the news on Tuesday. One man fainted at hearing that the plane may have been found.
Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia, took to Twitter to express his sorrow for those who have lost loved ones. He said that words could not express his sorrow and how sorry he is about the events.
Neighboring countries have helped to locate the bodies and debris in the water that have been found during the search for the missing AirAsia flight. Australia, Malaysia and Singapore are all involved, and helped to increase the number of helicopter units, fixed-wing units and ship units to 12, 11 and 32 respectively.
The search was expanded to 13 zones of the sea by Tuesday, when originally was focused on just four zones. The BBC reports that there has also been smoke spotted on Long Island, to the south of Belitung Island. Search teams have been deployed to investigate this to see if it is the crashed plane. A Chinese TV crew spotted the smoke on Monday. However, reports suggest that this may be unrelated to the plane and connected to an oil slick in the area.
The AirAsia Flight QZ8501 lost contact while flying over the Java Sea. Reports include that the pilot asked to take a different path due to the bad weather. That permission was granted, and the pilot took a left to get away from the storm. The pilot then reportedly wanted to take the plane higher, but without explanation. He was allowed to take the plane up by 2,000 feet but not to the 38,000 feet he wanted due to another AirAsia flight.
It was between this request and relaying the reply that air traffic control lost contact. There was no confirmation that the pilot ever received the reply. There were 162 people on board at the time, including 17 children and an infant.
Before now, there have been no reports of problems with AirAsia flights. There have never been any fatalities recorded. However, bodies and debris have been located during Tuesday’s search for the missing AirAsia airliner.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Yuda Nugrahadi