Date
17 December 2017
Search teams found debris off the coast of Indonesia's part of Borneo island, which an official said could be from the missing plane. Photo: AFP
Search teams found debris off the coast of Indonesia's part of Borneo island, which an official said could be from the missing plane. Photo: AFP

Debris seen off Indonesia could be from AirAsia jet: official

Red and white debris spotted off the coast of Indonesia’s part of Borneo island is likely to be part an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people which is presumed to have crashed two days ago, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing an Indonesian transport official.

A suspected body, luggage and a life vest were also found, the report said.

“As we approached, the body seemed bloated,” said First Lieutenant Tri Wibowo, who was on board a Hercules during the search operation, was quoted by the Kompas.com website as saying.

“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.”

Based on the size and coloring of the debris, it was likely to be part of the missing jet, Murjatmodjo added.

AirAsia planes are painted red and white.

Indonesia AirAsia’s Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, had sought permission from Indonesian air traffic control to ascend to avoid clouds just before it went missing early on Sunday on a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

There have been no confirmed sightings of any wreckage of the missing plane. 

Indonesia’s Kompass TV showed pictures of what looked like large, angular objects floating in the sea. The largest appeared to be several meters long.

Earlier, Indonesian officials said the search area in the Java Sea between the islands of Sumatra and Borneo would be expanded.

About 30 ships and 21 aircraft from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea were searching up to 10,000 square nautical miles on Tuesday, officials said.

The US military said the USS Sampson, a guided missile destroyer, would be on the scene later in the day.

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