31 Dec 2014

AirAsia jet body found - officials

6:19 pm on 31 December 2014

Indonesian search and rescue officials believe they have located the fuselage from AirAsia QZ8501, which crashed into the Java Sea off the coast of Borneo.

A pilot and co-pilot in the Indonesian air force keep a look out during search and rescue operations for the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501.

A pilot and co-pilot in Indonesia's air force keep a look out during the search for AirAsia QZ8501. Photo: AFP

Officials said they had obtained a sonar image of what appeared to be the body of the plane, lying on the seabed, about 30 metres deep.

Some reports said the plane was upside down but they have not been confirmed.

Ships and planes have resumed the search for wreckage, bodies and the black box recorders of the plane, which disappeared on Sunday with 162 passengers and crew on board.

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency head Bambang Soelistyo said six bodies had now been found, the BBC reported - not 40 as previously stated by naval officials.

Indonesia promises full-scale search

Relatives of passengers on board the AirAsia flight react to the news that debris has been found.

Relatives of passengers on board the AirAsia flight react to the news that debris has been found. Photo: AFP

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said he was "devastated" by Indonesia's earlier confirmation that bodies and debris found in the Java Sea off Borneo were from the flight.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo told media he had instructed all search teams to focus on finding the passengers and crew.

The Airbus A320-200, carrying 162 people from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore, disappeared on Sunday.

An AirAsia statement said the remains were found in the Karimata Strait, south-west of Pangkalan Bun in the Borneo province of Central Kalimantan. The discovery came on the third day of searching.

Mr Fernandes said he was "absolutely devastated".

He told a news conference there could now be an end to uncertainty for everyone involved.

"This is a scar with me for the rest of my life," he said.

"It doesn't change anything. There is at least some closure as opposed to not knowing what's happened and holding out hope."

Members of the Indonesian air forces carry items retrieved from the Java Sea.

Members of the Indonesian air forces carry items retrieved from the Java Sea. Photo: AFP

The AirAsia statement said family members would be assigned care providers and an emergency call centre would be set up for those seeking information.

In a news conference shortly after the discovery was confirmed, President Widodo urged relatives to be strong in facing "this difficult moment".

"I have instructed all the teams to focus on finding the passengers and crew," he said.

The first debris from the plane was spotted earlier on Tuesday. Pictures of debris and bodies were shown on Indonesian TV. Relatives of passengers on the plane watching the pictures were visibly shocked.

Floating debris spotted in the same area as other items being investigated by Indonesian authorities as possible objects from missing AirAsia flight.

Floating debris spotted in the same area as other items being investigated by Indonesian authorities as possible objects from missing AirAsia flight. Photo: AFP

Family members of passengers onboard missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 react after watching news reports showing an unidentified body floating in the Java sea.

Family members of passengers onboard missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 react after watching news reports showing an unidentified body floating in the Java sea. Photo: AFP

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