Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Indonesian authorities said they had spotted a dozen objects that could belong to the AirAsia plane that disappeared three days ago in the Java Sea. A few hours later they also claimed to have sighted "victims".
The 10 items could be an emergency evacuation slide, a plane door, a box, a life jacket and some white-colored objects. "We pray that those objects are the ones we're trying to find", Agus Dwi Putranto, Head of the Indonesian Airforce, said. The objects were sighted near the coast of Kalimantan (Borneo), close to where the last signal of the vanished aircraft was captured by radar. The photographs were taken by an AFP photographer from a surveillance plane.
About 30 ships and 21 aircraft from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are being used to search an area of about 10 thousand square nautical miles. The sea is only between 50 to 100 meters deep, and this, according to experts, will facilitate the finding of the plane.
The families of the 155 missing passengers are gathered at Surabaya Airport, from where the plane departed, and in Singapore, where it was scheduled to land. They are lamenting a lack of information. What makes search operations so difficult is the fact that the plane - whose engines were made by General Electric and France's Safran - has no electronic instrumentation that allows for real-time engine monitoring.
The AirAsia Group - a good quality low cost company, which includes affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India - had not suffered a crash since it began operating in 2002.
If the AirAsia accident is confirmed, 2014 will be remembered as the year with the largest number of victims of air disasters in the past four years, with 669 deaths. In 2010 the victims were 822.