A “gutted” Tony Fernandes says he hopes the finding of crashed Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501’s fuselage brings the families and friends of those on board one step closer to achieving “closure”.
The fuselage of the aircraft – registration PK-AXC – that was lost during a flights from Surabaya to Singapore on December 28 was found by the Singapore Navy on Wednesday.
Fernandes, the founder of the AirAsia group of airlines, confirmed the images taken from a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and posted on Facebook by Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen were of the aircraft’s fuselage.
“It is so so sad though seeing our aircraft,” Fernandes said on his Twitter account.
“I’m gutted and devastated. But hopefully we can find the rest of plane and put closure for families.
“Thank you all rescue teams. We hope all our guests are there.”
Indonesia AirAsia said in a statement search and rescue divers from Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) would begin recovery operations for the aircraft fuselage on Thursday.
The fuselage was found about two miles from where the tail was discovered and later brought to the surface last weekend.
BASARNAS said the size of the wreckage measured about 30 metres by 10 metres by three metres, with one wing attached to the aircraft body.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with QZ8501 – an Airbus A320 registration PK-AXC – 42 minutes into the flight from Surabaya to Singapore on December 28. There were 162 passengers and crew on board.
The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder were both retrieved from the bottom of the Java Sea earlier this week and were currently in Jakarta being analysed by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT).
Indonesia AirAsia said two more bodies were recovered on Wednesday, bringing to 50 the number recovered.