SURABAYA - Air Asia Indonesia has formally confirmed that the debris found on Tuesday by its search and rescue team in Indonesian waters were from the missing QZ8501 aircraft that lost contact with air traffic control on Dec 28.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Air Asia Indonesia said the debris were found in the Karimata Strait south west from Pangkalan Bun town.
"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," Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Indonesia said in the statement.
The aircraft, an Airbus A320-200, had 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant, 2 pilots, 4 cabin crews and one engineer, and was flying from Surabaya to Singapore.
"At the present time, search and rescue operations are still in progress and further investigation of the debris found at the location is still underway," the statement said.
AirAsia Indonesia employees have been sent to the site and will be fully cooperating with Basarnas, its search and rescue agency, as well as the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), and relevant authorities on the investigation, it added.
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes also extended condolences.
"I am absolutely devastated. This is a very difficult moment for all of us at AirAsia as we await further developments of the search and rescue operations but our first priority now is the wellbeing of the family members of those onboard QZ8501," he was quoted in the statement as saying.
AirAsia Indonesia will be inviting family members to Surabaya, where a dedicated team of care providers will be assigned to each family to ensure that all of their needs are met. Counsellors, religious and spiritual personnel have also been invited to the family center to provide any necessary services, the statement added.