AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash: In pictures

Flight QZ8501 disappeared on Sunday en route to Singapore from Surabaya

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The Independent Online

Powerful images taken during the two-day search for the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 remind us of the human cost of the tragedy as facts and figures abound.

Today, teams searching for the aircraft discovered pieces of wreckage and the bodies of 40 people, after the plane crashed into the sea on Sunday.

Photographers on the scene in Indonesia have captured the heart-breaking grief felt by families, showing them praying and breaking down into tears as they are told no survivors have yet been found.

Other images show loved ones and well-wishers offering floral tributes to those who died and who are still missing.

The anguish felt by the search teams tasked with retrieving the bodies and finding the missing wreckage has also been documented.

Earlier in the day, images of floating bodies were broadcast on television and relatives of the missing already gathered at a crisis centre in Surabaya wept with heads in their hands. Several people collapsed in grief and were helped away.

“My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ8501,” AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes tweeted today. "On behalf of AirAsia, my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am."


The airline said in a statement that it was 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".

At the centre, a man identified only as Yohannes and his wife were at the centre awaiting news of her brother, Herumanto Tanus, and two of his children who were on board the doomed flight.

The Tanus family had been on their way to visit Herumanto's son, who studies in Singapore and who travelled to Surabaya on Monday after the plane went missing.

"He cries every time he watches the news," Yohannes said.

The mayor of Surabaya, Tri Rismaharini, comforted relatives and urged them to be strong.

"They are not ours, they belong to God," she said.

Now, crews will continue their search for the remaining 122 missing people through the night, as they battle against waves up to three metres hight, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of the Search and Rescue Agency told reporters today.