Bodies found: Two female, one male

Search crew spot debris in the sea

Indonesian search crews have recovered debris and bodies floating in the sea from AirAsia flight QZ8501 that went missing three days ago with 162 people on board, as investigators seek to determine what brought down the plane.

AERIAL SEARCH: A member of the Indonesian air force on alert during search and rescue operations. - PHOTO: AFP

AERIAL SEARCH: Among the items spotted is debris believed to be from the missing aircraft. - PHOTO: AFP

Among the discovered objects is what appears to be an emergency door as well as submerged items resembling plane parts, Mr F H Bambang Sulistyo, head of the national search and rescue agency, said yesterday in Jakarta.

Parts of the jetliner's interior, including an oxygen tank, were brought to Pangkalan Bun, the nearest town. Another find was a bright blue plastic suitcase, entirely unscratched, reported.

"We spotted about 10 big objects and many more small white objects which we could not photograph," Indonesian Air Force official Agus Dwi Putranto said during a press conference, while showing photos of the objects.

"It is not really clear... it could be the wall of the plane or the door of the plane," he continued. "Let's pray that those objects are what we are really trying to find."

Two female bodies and one male body were retrieved, Mr Bambang said. No mention was made of survivors, the Washington Post reported.

There was confusion about the number of bodies with one official earlier saying that 40 bodies were recovered.


Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir told AFP earlier that according to naval radio a warship had recovered more than 40 bodies from the sea. But he later said that report was a miscommunication by his staff.

The crash site is in an area around Pangkalan Bun, about 1,000km south-east of Singapore, the destination of the flight.

Water in the area is shallow, at 25m to 30mdeep, and authorities have prepared divers for the search for the flight data and voice recorders and further evidence.

"It wasn't a controlled ditching," Mr Paul Hayes, safety director at London-based aviation consulting company Ascend Worldwide Ltd said. "That's clear from the finding of bodies that don't have life jackets on."

The Java Sea covers about 320,000 sq km, bordered by the islands of Borneo to the north and Java to the south.

Waters in the region are known to be shallow, which analysts and oceanographers have said will help in the search.

So far, no pings have been detected from the plane's black box, the Indonesian air force said.