Bodies, Debris Found in Search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501
Authorities have confirmed that debris found in Indonesian waters is from AirAsia Flight 8501 that vanished on Sunday, USA Today reported.
In a statement issued Tuesday, AirAsia Indonesia said Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency confirmed the debris of the aircraft was found in the Karimata Strait between Sumatra, Java and Borneo, an island shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
The announcement came as bodies were being recovered from the area where the flight disappeared.
Search and rescue operations are still in progress and the debris is still being investigated, the statement said.
Indonesian navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir told Agence France-Presse that a reported 40 bodies had been retrieved by the warship Bun Tomo, and that the number is growing.
Sunu Widyatmoko, AirAsia Indonesia's CEO, said in a 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."
The Airbus A320, which took off from Surabaya, and was headed to Singapore, lost contact with air-traffic control around 7:24 a.m. Singapore time Sunday (6:24 p.m. EST Saturday), airline officials said.
Pilots had asked for permission to climb to avoid storm clouds, but six other aircraft were in the vicinity, so controllers temporarily denied their request, according to authorities. Shortly after, the plane vanished from radar screens without declaring an emergency.
There were 162 people aboard the plane.