AirAsia confirms debris of missing plane, bodies retrieved

Jakarta, Dec 30:

AirAsia Tuesday confirmed that the debris spotted in the Java Sea, is from the missing flight QZ8501, even as three bodies confirmed to be those of passengers in the ill-fated plane were retrieved.
“AirAsia Indonesia regrets to inform that The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (Basarna) confirmed that the debris found earlier today is indeed from QZ8501, the flight that had lost contact with air traffic control Dec 28,” the airline said in an online statement.

The debris of the aircraft were found in the Karimata Strait, around 110 nautical miles south west from Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan province in Borneo island.

“We are sorry to be here today under these tragic circumstances. We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those on board QZ8501,” Sunu Widyatmoko, chief executive officer of AirAsia Indonesia, said, adding that “our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues”.

“I am absolutely devastated. This is a very difficult moment for all of us at AirAsia as we await further developments of the search and rescue operations but our first priority now is the well-being of the family members of those on board QZ8501,” Tony Fernandes, group chief executive officer of AirAsia, said.

Flight QZ 8501 lost contact with the air control tower 42 minutes after taking off from Indonesia’s Surabaya city for Singapore early Sunday morning.

The aircraft, an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC, was carrying 162 passengers and crew on board — 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans and one person each from Malaysia, Singapore, Britain and France.

Captain Iriyanto and First Officer Remi Emmanuel Plesel were the two pilots aboard the jet along with four cabin crew members – Wanti Setiawati, Khairunnisa Haidar Fauzi, Oscar Desano and Wismoyo Ari Prambudi – and technician Saiful Rakhmad.

AirAsia Indonesia will be 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.

Counsellors, religious and spiritual personnel have also been invited to the family centre to provide any necessary services.

Earlier in the day, three out of the six bodies found in the Java Sea, confirmed as passengers of flight QZ8501, were recovered by a rescue team. (IANS)

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