The fuselage of the AirAsia jet that crashed more than two weeks ago off the coast of Indonesia has been found.The aircraft disappeared on 28 December while flying between Surabaya in Indonesia and Singapore.
All 162 people on board died.
The fuselage – the part of the plane that holds pilots and passengers – was found by the Singapore Navy’s MV Swift Rescue, just under two miles from where the tail of the aircraft was retrieved last weekend.
The news was revealed by the head of the Singapore Navy, Rear Admiral Lai Chung Han, who said the Indonesian search authority could now begin recovery operations.
The rear admiral told Sky News Asia Correspondent Mark Stone: “The accident is a tragic event resulting in the loss of many lives.
“I hope that, with the fuselage located, some form of closure can come to the families of the victims to ease their grief.
“I would also like to thank all our SAF servicemen who have given this mission their all to help the Indonesians recover the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, and the fuselage.
“Especially to the crew of MV Swift Rescue, you never gave up – well done.”
So far, 50 bodies have been retrieved from the Java Sea and searchers believe more bodies will be found in the plane’s fuselage, bringing hope to relatives that the bodies of their loved ones can be retrieved for burial.
Victims’ families had feared the search would be scaled down after the plane’s flight recorders were found.
“We understand if the search becomes smaller … but the bodies have to be found,” said Frangky Chandry, whose younger brother was on the plane.
“We want to bury our family. That’s what we want.”
Meanwhile, Indonesian investigators have started examining the black box flight recorders recovered from the Airbus A320-200 in the hope of unlocking initial clues as to what caused the disaster.