Three people killed on Air Asia flight QZ8501 were holding hands when their bodies were spotted floating in the Java sea off Indonesia, a pilot involved in the search for the missing plane has claimed.
Lieutenant Airman Tri Wobowo, who co-piloted the C130 Hercules aircraft that first saw debris of the plane on Tuesday, told Indonesian newspaper Kompas: ‘There are seven to eight people. Three [of them] again hold hands.’
Since wreckage from the plane was discovered off the coast of Borneo Island after three days of searching there have been a number of different body counts from several official sources.
Divers and ships will search for the wreckage and the all important black boxes of the doomed plane on Wednesday after officials confirmed that the bodies and debris found are from flight 8501
The fuselage may be easily found as the aircraft probably only broke up when it hit the water, aviation experts believe.
Before darkness fell in the area, search teams identified a shadow that they believe to be the plane’s fuselage in the sea, which is relatively shallow at just 160 feet at its deepest point. Many of the remaining victims are thought likely to still be on board the aircraft
The Airbus A320-200 was 42 minutes into its flight from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore on Sunday when it vanished with 162 people on board.
Several pieces of red, white and black debris – including luggage, a plane door and an emergency slide – were were spotted in the Java Sea near Borneo island yesterday.
A 38-year-old Indonesian fisherman, Mohammed Taha, was reportedly the first person to spot any wreckage – despite the multi-million air-search for the jet.
Mr Taha spotted metal objects in the water but didn’t know a plane was missing until he returned to his home in the village of Belinyu on Monday, Indonesian news website Tempo reported.
‘I found a lot of debris – small and large – in the Tujuh islands,’ Mr Taha said.
‘The largest was four metres long and two metres wide. They were red coloured with white silver. It looked like the AirAsia colours.’
The bodies were found in the Java Sea about six miles from Flight 8501’s last communications with air traffic control.
Search leader Bambang Soelistyo said: ‘As the search and rescue coordinator, I can 95 per cent confirm [this is] debris and objects from the plane. The five per cent is simply because I haven’t seen personally seen them.’
Indonesian President Joko Widodo also confirmed plans to visit both the crisis center in Surabaya and the suspected crash location near Pangkalan Bun.
Fernandes has told Indonesia’s President that he believes the crash was caused solely by bad weather.
Despite the black box recorder having not yet been found, Mr Fernandes said there was ‘some very unique weather conditions in the area at the time’.
He then added:’We cannot make any assumptions about what went wrong. All I can say is that the weather in south-east Asia is bad at the moment,’ the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
At a press conference later in the day he added: ‘This is a scar with me for the rest of my life…There is at least some closure as opposed to not knowing what’s happened and holding out hope.’
There were no immediate reports of any survivors, although the presence of a life raft might raise hopes people survived the crash.