AirAsia flight QZ8501: Two big objects found 30 metres under water, says rescue agency chief

Indonesian crew members observing the surface of the sea during the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 on board an aircraft over the Java Sea on Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Indonesian crew members observing the surface of the sea during the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 on board an aircraft over the Java Sea on Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - Two big objects were found in the search for Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 on Saturday, Indonesia's search and rescue agency chief said.

The two objects are about 30 metres under water and located near an oil slick spotted yesterday, said Basarnas chief Bambang Sulistyo.

The larger of the objects was around 10 metres by five metres.

“With the discovery of an oil spill and two big parts of the aircraft, I can assure you these are the parts of the AirAsia plane we have been looking for,” he said.

“We are lowering a ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) underwater to get an actual picture of the objects detected on the sea floor. All are at the depth of 30 metres,” Soelistyo said, adding that a strong current was making it difficult to operate the ROV.

Three vessels sent out to a sea area where the oil slick was spotted located the "two objects...that are close to each other," said Soelistyo.

One of the three vessels was Singapore's Navy ship RSS Persistence, he added.

Rough weather in recent days has hampered the search for bodies and the fuselage of the Airbus A320-200, which disappeared from radar during a storm last Sunday morning. So far 30 bodies have been recovered in the search.

The sea in the search area was still rough on Saturday, with waves reaching a height of 4 metres.

Malaysia's Chief of Navy Abdul Aziz Jaafar said in a tweet that visibility was about 8 nautical miles with wind speed of 20 - 30 knots. He said a search area with a dimension of 57 by 10 nautical miles had been established.  

AirAsia QZ8501 banner