Wreckage from an AirAsia flight that went missing on its way to Singapore on Sunday was found on Tuesday in the Karimata Strait off the coast of Borneo, Indonesian rescue teams said.
Djoko Murjatmodjo, a senior official with Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry, said the debris was from the missing plane, The New York Times reported.
“We’ve confirmed the wreckage was from the body of the plane,” Murjatmodjo said.
According to The Associated Press, six bodies were spotted about 6 miles from Flight 8501’s last communications with air-traffic control. Three of the bodies, which were intact and not wearing life jackets, were brought to an Indonesian navy ship, National Search and Rescue Director SB Supriyadi said.
Debris, including what appeared to be suitcases and pieces from the aircraft, were also discovered floating in the Java Sea, members of search teams told the Indonesian news media:
AirAsia Flight 8501 went missing Sunday morning local time after taking off from Indonesia’s second-largest city of Surabaya. No distress signal went out from the airplane. The Airbus 320-200 carried 155 passengers and seven crew on board, most of them Indonesians.
Satellite images showed heavy thunderstorms in the vicinity of the site where the plane lost contact on Sunday. Djoko Murjatmodjo of Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation told reporters during a press conference later that day that the pilot had requested to divert from the plane’s scheduled flight path due to bad weather.
As footage of the grim discoveries aired on televisions at the airport in Surabaya, family members of the plane’s passengers screamed and broke out into tears, AP reported. One man collapsed and had to be rushed from the room on a stretcher.