More than 40 bodies found

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 30 Desember 2014 | 20.01

Indonesian officials have found six bodies in the AirAsia search area, three of which have been recovered.

Items resembling an emergency slide and a plane door were spotted in the search for missing AirAsia plane.

Objects spotted around where the plane disappeared from radar. Source: AFP

THREE days after disappearing during a wild storm, AirAsia has confirmed debris found earlier today is that of missing flight QZ8501.

In a statement, the airline read it "regretsto inform that The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) today confirmed that the debris found earlier today is indeed from QZ8501, the flight that had lost contact with air traffic control on the morning of 28th December 2014."

There were 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots, 4 cabin crews and one engineer.

Debris from parts of the aircraft, including an emergency door and a life jacket, were found in the Karimata Straight between Sumatra, Java and Borneo, around 110 nautical miles south west from Pangkalan Bun.

The 'shadow' of a plane was spotted on the seabed close to the debris.

Search area for the missing Air Asia flight QZ8501. Source: Supplied

It came as more than 40 bodies from the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 had been found along with debris, authorities have confirmed.

"Based on the navy radio, it has been reported that the warship Bung Tomo has retrieved 40 bodies and the number is growing. They are very busy now," Indonesian Navy Official Manahan Simorangkir said.

Some bodies did not have life jackets on.

The debris was spotted just under 10 kilometres from when the flight was last seen on radar.

"At the present time, search and rescue operations are still in progress and further investigation of the debris found at the location is still underway," the statement read.

"AirAsia Indonesia employees have been sent to the site and will be fully cooperating with BASARNAS, National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), and relevant authorities on the investigation."

Commander of 1st Indonesian Air Force Operational Command Rear Marshall Dwi Putranto shows aeroplane parts and a suitcase found floating on the water near the site where AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared. Picture: Dewi Nurcahyani Source: AP

Relatives of passengers of the missing AirAsia Flight 8501 react upon seeing the news on television. Picture: Trisnadi Source: AP

Indonesian television have been criticised after showing bodies on the waters near the site where the jetliner disappeared. Picture: Trisnadi Source: AP

Indonesian military personnel over the waters of the Java Sea on December 30. Picture: Juni Kriswanto Source: AFP

The tragic news was made worse when Indonesian television footage showed a body floating in the sea during aerial searches for the plane.

Pandemonium broke out at Juanda International Airport, at least two distraught family members were carried out on stretchers from the room where they had been waiting for news in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city and the takeoff point for the aircraft that disappeared during a storm on Sunday.

"We are sorry to be here today under these tragic circumstances," said Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Indonesia, in AirAsia's statement.

"We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those on board QZ8501. Our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues."

Indonesian Air Force personnel carry aeroplane parts recovered from the water near the site where AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared, at the air base in Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia. Picture: Dewi Nurcahyani Source: AP

A family member of passengers gestures while accompanying military personnel on a search and rescue (SAR) mission. Picture: Juni Kriswanto Source: AFP

A family member of passengers gestures while accompanying military personnel on a search and rescue (SAR) mission. Picture: Juni Kriswanto

Commander of Indonesian Air Force 1st Operational Command Rear Marshall Dwi Putranto, centre, shows the aeroplane parts and a suitcase found floating on the water. Picture: Dewi Nurcahyani Source: AP

Meanwhile AirAsia's Group Executive Officer, Tony Fernandes added he was "absolutely devastated" amid news he was "rushing" to Surabaya to be among the grieving families.

"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."

AirAsia Indonesia will be inviting family members to Surabaya, where a dedicated team of care providers will be assigned to each family to ensure that all of their needs are met. Counsellors, religious and spiritual personnel have also been invited to the family centre to provide any necessary services."

Members of an Indonesian search and rescue team. Source: AFP

Earlier, Indonesia's director general of civil aviation, Djoko Murjatmodjo, told AFP: "For the time being it can be confirmed that it's the AirAsia plane and the transport minister will depart soon to Pangkalan Bun."

Members of an Indonesian search and rescue team carry body bags to a waiting aircraft. Source: Getty Images

Distraught family members of passengers on-board the missing AirAsia flight. Source: AFP

As relatives of the passengers were assembled in a room in Surabaya to watch the search efforts, they watched images of a floating body that had been broadcast on local TV.

Many screamed and wailed uncontrollably, breaking down into tears while they squeezed each other. One middle-aged man collapsed and was rushed from the room on a stretcher.

This aerial photo shows an object floating on the waters of the Java Sea. Source: AP

"Based on the observation by search and rescue personnel, significant things have been found such as a passenger door and cargo door.

A rescuer is lowered on rope from a hovering helicopter near a body in Java Sea waters. Source: AP

"It's in the sea, 100 miles (160 kilometres) southwest of Pangkalan Bun," he said, referring to the town in Central Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo.

The search. Source: Getty Images

Following the confirmation from Indonesian officials, AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes tweeted his condolences and said he was on his way to Surabaya.

A search for the aircraft has been underway since Sunday afternoon when it lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control.

The plane, with 155 passengers and seven crew, was less than an hour into a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore when it is believed to have encountered a violent thunderstorm. Its pilots requested a change of flight path due to bad weather, just minutes before contact was lost.

EARLIER: How the search for AirAsia QZ8501 unfolded

Chiara Natasha at right (who was not on the flight) pictured with her mother Indahju Liangsih. Chiara Natasha lost her parents and two brothers on the flight. Photo: Facebook Source: Supplied

The Herald Sun reports a Melbourne-based student was on-board the plane when it disappeared. Monash University student Kevin Alexander Soetjipto was travelling from Indonesia to Singapore with relatives when the plane vanished over the Java Sea.

Mr Soetjipto is from Malang in Indonesia and it is believed he was in Australia on a student visa.

More to come.

With Rebecca Sullivan, Frank Chung, Debra Killalea, Andrew Koubaridis and Sherine Conyers.

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