Govt confirms debris from AirAsia
Nadya Natahadibrata and Hans Nicholas Jong
The Jakarta Post
The Transportation Ministry's acting director general of air transportation, Djoko Murjatmodjo, confirmed on Tuesday that wreckage discovered in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, was from AirAsia flight QZ8501.
'It has been confirmed that it is debris from an aircraft bearing red and white colors,' Djoko said, citing that the debris was found by the ministry's rescue team.
'The recovery process will now be centered in the debris location in coordination with Basarnas [the National Search and Rescue Agency],' he continued.
Flight QZ8501, en route to Singapore from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya in East Java, was officially declared missing on Sunday morning.
The ministry said that Jakarta's air traffic control (ATC) had been about to approve the flight's request to climb to a higher altitude when the plane vanished.
Earlier, Basarnas reported that it had found 10 pieces of debris during its search for the ill-fated AirAsia Indonesia aircraft southwest of Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan.
Basarnas spokesman M. Yusuf Latif said on Tuesday that a CN maritime patrol aircraft from the Indonesian Air Force first discovered the debris during a search on Tuesday morning.
"We just searched [the location] until 11 a.m. So, according to estimations, the debris was seen at 10:15 a.m.," he told reporters at the agency's headquarters in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.
The location of the debris matched information from two fishermen in Pangkalan Bun who said that they heard a thud and saw explosions on Sunday morning, Yusuf said.
According to Yusuf, after being notified of the discovery, Basarnas immediately dispatched a chopper to the location.
"We are ordering two members of the Basarnas team to retrieve the debris using hoists," Yusuf said. (++++)
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