Luggage, a plane door, oxygen tanks, an emergency slide and at least 40 bodies have been discovered in the Java Sea — all confirmed to have come from the missing AirAsia flight 8501 that disappeared on Sunday.
The Daily Mail reports that the bodies and debris were found floating in the water some 100 miles off the coast of Borneo Island after three days of searching for the Airbus A320-200 that was on its way from Indonesia to Singapore when it vanished.
Distressed family and friends of the 162 people on board the AirAsia flight were reportedly watching live TV coverage of the search effort when shocking images were shown without warning.
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Images on Indonesian television showed a half-naked bloated body bobbing in the sea. Search and rescue teams were lowered on ropes from a hovering helicopter to retrieve the corpses.
As family members of the plane’s passengers sat together in a waiting room at Surabaya airport, they watched the graphic details on television.
Many screamed and wailed uncontrollably, breaking down in tears while they squeezed each other. At least two people fainted and were carried out on stretchers to waiting ambulances.
Officials say the bodies were not wearing life jackets, leading to speculation that a catastrophic event of some kind occurred that allowed for no time to prepare for ditching into the sea.
Sky News reports that the man in charge of the search has indicated that the main wreckage of the plane may also have been spotted.
Search chief SB Supriyadi also said an air force Hercules had “found an object described as a shadow at the bottom of the sea in the form of a plane”.
BBC reports say that AirAsia previously had an excellent safety history with no fatal accidents on its record prior to this crash.
On board the plane were 137 adult passengers, 17 children and one infant, along with two pilots and five crew.
Most were Indonesian but the passengers included one UK national, a Malaysian, a Singaporean and three South Koreans.
Investigators will now turn their attention to what happened and why with AirAsia flight 8501.
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Image Credits: bbc.com
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