Indonesia has been thrown into mourning as officials confirmed the worst for relatives of those who had family on the missing AirAsia QZ8501 flight that disappeared two days ago. Indonesian search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo has said that several bodies have been recovered after debris from the plane was spotted about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the aircraft's last known location over the Java Sea.
CNN reports that Soelistyo said the debris was discovered when a crew on a military aircraft spotted the shadow of an object that looked like a plane in the water. Further searching found floating objects believed to be the bodies of passengers, and then what appeared to be an emergency exit of the plane.
Soelistyo also said that divers and ships with sonar equipment are being sent to the site, where the water depth varies between 25 and 30 meters (about 80 to 100 feet). According to AirAsia, search and rescue teams are diverting all their resources to where the debris is, in the Karimata Strait, about 110 nautical miles southwest of the Indonesian city of Pangkalan Bun.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo spoke with journalists before going to meet with families. He said;
"To the relatives, I feel your loss, and all of us pray that all of the families are given the strength and fortitude during this incident."
Sunu Widyatmoko, head of AirAsia Indonesia, also added his condolences;
"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. Our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues."
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted;
"My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501. On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am."
Later, speaking with reporters, Fernandes added;
'This is a scar with me for the rest of my life...There is at least some closure as opposed to not knowing what's happened and holding out hope.'
Hospitals in the Indonesian city of Surabaya are being prepared to help house and identify bodies being recovered off the coast of Borneo.
As families watched a live news conference about the discovery of the debris and saw video of a helicopter lowering a diver to what appeared to be a floating body, some people fainted. Stretchers were brought into the room.
Family members burst into tears, dabbing their eyes as officials passed out tissues. Some sat with their eyes full of tears, hands covering their mouths or heads buried in their hands. Others had phones jammed against their ears.
The QZ8501 flight was lost Sunday while on its way to Singapore, and was carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members. The overwhelming majority were Indonesians. There were also citizens of Britain, France, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.