AirAsia flight QZ8501: Body found in sea search, says Indonesian search and rescue

JAKARTA (AFP/JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A body was found in the sea on Tuesday during the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief said at a press conference.

"At 13.25... we spotted a floating object believed to be one of the passengers' bodies," Mr Bambang Soelistyo said at a press conference.

Relatives of the 162 people missing on the plane hugged each other and burst into tears in Surabaya, where the plane departed from, as they watched footage showing a body floating in the sea on a television feed of Mr Soelistyo's press conference in Jakarta.

They hugged one another and continued crying until an AirAsia officer shouted, "This is crazy", an AFP journalist at the scene said.

The situation at the centre was tense and emotional, with some hysterical and crying non-stop.

One man fainted and had to be taken out on a stretcher.

AirAsia QZ8501 search areas

Earlier, Air Force Hercules C130 copilot Lt Tri Wibowo, who flew on Tuesday over waters near Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan in the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, said that he saw dozens of floating bodies as well as bags and aircraft debris.

"We thought that the passengers were still alive and waved at us for help. But when we approached closer [we saw] they were already dead," said Lt Tri as quoted by

Lt Tri and the team scoured the area at around 11am.

The Transportation Ministry earlier confirmed that white and red debris found near Pangkalan Bun belonged to the ill-fated flight, which vanished on Sunday en route to Singapore from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya in East Java.

AirAsia QZ8501 debris

AirAsia QZ8501 banner

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