Flight QZ8501: debris found; bodies retrieved


Indonesian officials have said that debris sighted off Kalimantan coast is likely to be from missing AirAsia jet.

“The debris is red and white,” Djoko Murjatmodjo, acting director-general of air transportation at the Transportation Ministry, told reporters. “We are checking if it’s debris from the aircraft. It’s probably from the body of the aircraft.”

Flight QZ8501 went missing after air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft about 45 minutes after it left Juanda international airport at Surabaya in East Java at 5.20am on Sunday (22:20 GMT Saturday).

Shortly before disappearing, AirAsia said the pilot of the plane had asked permission from air traffic control to change course and climb above bad weather in an area noted for severe thunderstorms.

The search for the plane carrying 162 people, is now in its third day.

During early reports, some have gone as far as to say they have seen a body  

A human body has been found in the search zone of the missing AirAsia flight, Indonesian Air Forces have stated, according to media reports. Objects resembling parts of plane were seen in the same area.

“There was a man swaying on the waves. After I looked at the photo carefully on my laptop, I understood it was a human body,” a lieutenant of the Indonesian Air Force told local media.

Meanwhile, Indonesian authorities are checking if what they saw are bodies or survivors, navy officials stated.

“Crew had visual of people at sea surface, not far from debris,” they said.

It comes after objects that resemble an emergency slide, plane door, and a square box-like item have been spotted 10km from the last position of the missing AirAsia jet, according to Indonesian authorities.

“We spotted about 10 big objects and many more small white-colored objects which we could not photograph,” Indonesian Air Force official Agus Dwi Putranto said at a press conference.

May their deaths have been instantaneous, and their suffering up to that point minimal.


Indonesian Metro TV reported that they have found six bodies.  [by 10pm NZ time last night]

Several bodies found floating in waters where the Indonesian AirAsia flight went missing have been retrieved.

Officials who got off a helicopter in Pangkalan Bun, Surabaya confirmed this.



– Al Jazeera, Russia Today


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  • cows4me

    Very sad but it has to be better than never knowing what has happen to your loved ones. At least answers will come from this tragedy.

    • Teletubby

      As I’ve just finished posting in the general debate Cows, I’m very concerned that the answers are going to answers that we already have after the Air France 447 accident. If the speculation that this is another pitot tube related incident turns out to be correct that will be the real tragedy here.

      • Aucky

        I believe they will find icing to be a major factor TT.

        • Teletubby

          Yes Aucky, the thinking man definitely has his money on ice in the pitot tubes which is frustrating because it is a known issue that the manufacturers have failed to deal with. It will be interesting to see which pitots were fitted to this particular plane . I pray it isnt the same one that was removed from the 330s and 340s throughout most of the world in the aftermath of Air France 447

        • PsychoKea

          Airline pilots need to spend time flying real aircraft, too much of today’s commercial flying is automated, when the brown stuff hits the fan, good old fashioned problem solving and piloting skills need to take over, at first glance this does indeed have similarities to AF447, which was a very disturbing series of errors both aircraft system and aircrew, when you experience an aircraft upset at high altitude, the crew needs to be onto it very quickly before flight parameters are exceeded, hopefully the relatively shallow water in the area will enable the FDR/CVR to be found quickly.

          • Teletubby

            Good point PK, I reread a summary of the AF447 report last night and one of the points in it was that on average commercial pilots on modern jets spend an average of three minutes per flight manually flying the plane, nearly always at take off and landing, the computer does the rest .

          • ShoreRight

            That was shown when the experienced pilot landed the plane in the Hudson River a few years back , it was said at the time his wealth of real flying experience saved the day on that occasion .

      • papagaya

        Yes, the recent Vanity Fair article on the Air France crash was fascinating and chilling. Planes are automated to such a degree now that pilots get confused when things don’t go to plan.

    • Monito

      It actually makes the disappearance of MH370 even more disturbing, this is what is expected to happen when a plane goes into the sea…..

  • steve and monique

    Thoughts go out to families of those poor souls who have lost their lives.

  • Ben

    And in a report on Stuff the CEO is quoted:

    Referring to floods in Malaysia and Thailand, he suggested that climate change may have played a part in more dangerous conditions for air travel: “There’s a lot of rain, so that is something we need to look at carefully because the weather is changing. The weather is changing”.


    It will not be long before the holiday road toll is blamed on climate change.

  • Let us hope that the flight recorder is found and the cause of this crash is determined without delay. It’s possible there is a design flaw in this aircraft and many more lives may be at risk. Our deepest sympathy to those who died and for the grief their families are suffering. Let it not be in vain. As the technology exists for real-time tracking of aircraft it would be responsible for all airlines to install it. Lives may be saved on future crashes if rescue efforts can be immediately undertaken.

    • Bryan

      it was real time tracking that was being used and then suddenly was lost which enable them to find this in 3 days and the 320 airbus has a very good safety record, some of those asian storms are like nothing we ever see here
      what a sad way to end a year for those families but its early yet they might even find someone alive

  • Fredd Dagg

    Why do aircraft still go missing? Bureaucracy. Many small aircraft already have real time tracking that automatically sends a GPS position report to the sattelites every 2 minutes. It costs around $1000 (yes, one thousand NZ dollars) for the gear and less than $100 a month subscription. However it can;t be fitted to commercial aircraft until it has been certified by all ‘The Authorities’… which will take years, and it will then have to cost $500,000 upfront and $10,000 a month to recover the paperwork costs.

  • Orange

    Do crashes strip passengers to their underwear or does that photo mean that there were survivors for a time?

    • Michael_l_c

      Both. Depend on what they were wearing & the circumstances of the impact, break up. First indicator will be the condition of the plane, whole with doors open or torn apart.

    • mark14

      An RAF crewman who was involved with the Lockerbie aftermath said to me many bodies were found naked due to the slipstream stripping their clothes off

    • Abjv

      If the plane comes apart at altitude, the airspeed at the time of during free fall is enough to strip off clothing. If the plane makes it intact to sea level passengers will be fully clothed at the time they enter the rafts/water although they will then take clothing off to make it easier to swim/stay afloat. But most people stripping in the water leave knickers on. What is more applicable in this case was if the body had a life jacket on. Yes, means there was some warning; no suggests sudden disintegration at altitude. There are examples of the latter – Air France’s stall off Brazil, turbulence taking the wings off a Hercules (that one was caught on video), tail section fracturing off a 742 off Korea. But it is stiller doers of magnitude safer to get on a plane than get in your car and leave your driveway.

      It is possible to ditch an A320 intact – the Hudson River crash a few years ago, but it takes dead flat water and a pilot who knows what he is doing (the Hudson River pilot started out with PanAm who in those days did most of their landings in water) but ditching into an ocean swell, possibly in a storm, generally leaves you with a pile of bits. There’s a clip on YouTube of an Air Ethiopia pilot getting it wrong ditching a 762(?) in calm ocean after a hijacking went wrong and they ran out of fuel. Both engines have to hit the water at exactly the same time and you can’t do that if there is a swell.

  • Steve

    As alluded to below the similarities with AF447 a number of years ago, are striking. I am certain the fly by wire nature of the Airbus will be much focus of discussion. Another less well known aspect is the engine type this aircraft was fitted with. They were the CFM (French) variant which are lower thrust than either the IAE (swiss) or Rolls Royce engines fitted to a lot of the Boeing fleet. The CFM are a more economical in maintenance terms but have a history of cutting out in heavy rain/hail.
    Singapore airlines that also flys a high proportion of flights in the inter tropical convergence zone, (ITCZ), notorious for thunderstorms, have their Airbus fleet fitted with the higher thrust IAE engines.
    Everything is pure speculation until the investigation is complete but it’s interesting to try and understand what the investigators may focus on when the data is analysed.

  • HSV325

    I agree with you about the fly by wire systems in the A320 and good points about the engine type. Interesting Singapore use the IAE engines.

  • ElZorrodePlata

    I remember flying over the Jakarta sea a few years ago and was amazed by the towering thunder clouds that seemed to hang over the Indonesian coast. Flying anywhere near them would make me quite uncomfortable.
    Sometimes I think that we are all too quick to blame the pilot, plane, engine, or maintenance. The airlines are operating on very tight fuel budgets and I wonder how much latitude the pilots are given in terms of course correction to avoid bad weather etc. I do seem to remember that a few years ago, Air NZ pilots were given more freedom to navigate towards areas of more favorable air when flying trans pacific. I wonder if other airlines are as flexible?