Indonesian officials say they have recovered wreckage and more than 40 bodies floating in waters near the disappearance area of a missing AirAsia flight with more bodies expected to be found.
The corpses, which were swollen but intact and which did not have life jackets on, have been transferred to an Indonesian navy ship.
Speaking at a news conference in Jakarta on Tuesday, National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said an Air Force plane saw a “shadow” on the seabed.
Indonesian Air Force official Agus Dwi Putranto told a press conference on Tuesday that search teams spotted floating items resembling a plane emergency slide, a door and a square box-like object off Borneo Island in the Java Sea, which are suspected of belonging to the missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501.
“We spotted about 10 big objects and many more small white-colored objects which we could not photograph,” Putranto said. “The position (of the spotted objects) is 10 kilometers from the location the plane was last captured by radar.”
The Airbus A320-200 belonging to Malaysia’s airlines with 162 passengers on board disappeared en route from Surabaya in Indonesia’s east Java to Singapore.
In the last communication from the cockpit to air traffic control, one of the pilots sought permission to climb from 32,000 feet (9,754 meters) to 38,000 feet (11,582 meters) due to the bad weather, which was not allowed because another plane was in the way.
Reports said over 1,100 search and rescue personnel from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, and New Zealand have joined Indonesia’s teams.
The AirAsia plane went missing while the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370 earlier this year still remains a mystery.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, mysteriously vanished from radar screens early on March 8 less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled flight to Beijing, China.
Despite months of massive air and sea search, no confirmed traces of the passenger plane’s wreckage have been sighted.