AirAsia missing plane: Search teams spot two large objects on ocean floor

Indonesian officials say they are confident the objects are part of the missing plane

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The Independent Online

Two large objects of interest have been detected by teams searching for the wreckage of AirAsia Flight 8501, Indonesian officials have said.

The objects, spotted on the ocean floor by an Indonesian navy ship using sonar, were detected early on Friday and were further examined by a specially equipped geological survey vessel late last night.

The objects measure 9.5m by 4.8m and 7.2m by 0.5m.

“I’m confident this is part of the AirAsia plane,” Henry Bambang Soelistyo, chief of the country’s National Search and Rescue Agency said.

Teams are battling a stormy sea to obtain images of the objects with a remote control underwater vehicle.

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An Indonesian Navy helicopter assists in the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 near Batam, south of Singapore

The Airbus A320 plane carrying 162 passengers and crew crashed mid-way through a two-hour flight from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, to the city-state of Singapore.

Minutes before losing contact with air traffic controllers, the plane’s pilot requested and was denied permission to climb to a higher altitude to avoid bad weather.

Indonesian aviation experts have said the plane behaved in ways “bordering on the edge of logic” when it disappeared last Sunday.

 

Earlier in the week, AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes suggested the flight had run into "very unique weather” said climate change could be be making flights more risky, particularly tropical regions.

It remains unclear exactly what caused the downing of the plane, but experts believe that unexpectedly bad weather is the most likely explanation.

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An Indonesia's Air Force crewman looks out of the window during a search and rescue operation as they search for the missing AirAsia plane in Indonesia

So far, only 30 bodies have been recovered by search and rescue teams, who believe that bad weather has scattered debris and corpses over a wide area.

Families have faced an agonising wait to recover their loved ones. Search teams believe most of the plane’s passengers are likely to be trapped inside the aircraft’s fuselage.

The first victim of the crash to be identified was Hayati Lutfiah Hamid, who was wearing a nametag on her red uniform. Her identify was informed by a fingerprint check and her body has been returned to her family.

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