AirAsia plane debris, 3 floating bodies found in sea

AirAsia plane debris, 3 floating bodies found in sea

After three days of intense search, debris of the missing AirAsia aircraft carrying 162 people was found today in the Java Sea off Indonesia but only three bodies have been retrieved so far as mystery remained over the cause of the crash.

Only three bodies have been retrieved and not 40 as previously stated by naval officials, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said late tonight, amid fading hopes of finding any survivors.

The bodies -- two women and a man -- were spotted along with debris floating in the Java Sea off the Indonesian part of Borneo, close to the area where contact was lost with the aircraft on Sunday morning.

Bad weather and high waves impeded the search and rescue operation today, reported Indonesia's Antara news agency.

This also impeded the evacuation process of the lost AirAsia QZ8501 plane in the Karimata Strait near Pangkalanbun, Central Kalimantan. "Tomorrow, we will conduct evacuation process. The recent obstacles are the waves reaching two until three meters in height and bad weather," Soelistyo told a press conference.

A number aircraft and helicopters supporting the search and rescue operation could not be operated due to bad weather over the area where the debris was found, Soelistyo said.

Indonesian Navy War Ship KRI Banda Aceh 593 is on its way to the area where the debris has been found. The navy vessel will be assisted with some other ships to locate other debris and bodies of the passengers that may be found during the night operation.
Among the things that the search team members discovered in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, were parts of the aircraft and a blue luggage, he said.

Three bodies of two women and one man were also evacuated to Indonesian Navy Ship KRI Bung Tomo, Soelistyo said.

The Indonesian navy had earlier reported that 40 bodies had been retrieved by one warship and rescuers were continuing to recover more bodies.

Relatives of the 162 people on board the ill-fated plane hugged each other and burst into tears in Surabaya from where the plane had taken off for Singapore as they watched television footage of bodies floating in the sea.

Indonesian Transportation Ministry's acting director general of air transportation, Djoko Murjatmodjo, said that the wreckage was discovered in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, and belonged to the AirAsia flight QZ8501.

"It has been confirmed that it is debris from an aircraft bearing red and white colours," Djoko said, citing that the debris was found by the ministry's rescue team.

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