Debris from missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was found Tuesday, and two bodies were found nearby, authorities say.
“AirAsia Indonesia regrets to inform that The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia 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,” the airline said in a statement.
“We are sorry to be here today under these tragic circumstances,” said airline head Sunu Widyatmoko. “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.”
Two bodies have been sighted, Indonesian navy official Manahan Simorangkir told CNN on Tuesday. The body of a woman was recovered, but large waves have prevented crews from getting to the second body, Simorangkir said.
The bodies were not immediately identified.
Hospitals in the Indonesian city of Surabaya are being prepared to help house and identify bodies being recovered off the coast of Borneo.
Bambang Sulistyo, head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, said the discovery came when a crew on a military aircraft spotted the shadow of an object that looked like a plane in the water.
Further searching found floating objects believed to be the bodies of passengers, and then what appeared to be an emergency exit of the plane.
Officials sent other search teams racing to the area.
The debris was found in the Karimata Strait, about 110 nautical miles southwest from the Indonesian city Pangkalan Bun, AirAsia said.
The news dealt a heartbreaking blow to relatives of passengers who had been waiting anxiously for information at the airport in Surabaya, the Indonesian city where the flight began its journey Sunday with 162 people on board.
The plane was carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members. The overwhelming majority of those on board were Indonesians. There were also citizens of Britain, France, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.
There were scenes of anguish as families watched a live news conference about the discovery of the debris and saw video of a helicopter lowering a diver to what appeared to be a floating body.
Some people fainted, and stretchers were taken into the room.
Family members burst into tears, dabbing their eyes as officials passed out tissues. Some sat with their eyes full of tears, hands covering their mouths, or heads buried in their hands. Others had phones jammed against their ears.