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AirAsia Flight 8501

Debris, bodies from AirAsia flight found in Java Sea

The mystery of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 has been solved, and the answer is as grim as officials had feared: Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency has confirmed that debris and bodies found floating off the Borneo coast are from the aircraft, which went missing early Sunday amid stormy weather. The Indonesian navy says that about 40 bodies have been recovered so far, of the 162 people on the flight.

Search-and-rescue crew first spotted a life jacket and airplane emergency exit, then a bright blue suitcase, about 100 miles from Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia. When Indonesian TV showed footage of bloated corpses floating in the sea, family members gathered at the Surabaya airport — where the Singapore-bound flight had departed — broke down in tears. Most of the people on board — 155 — were Indonesian; three were South Korean, one was British, one Malaysian, and one from Singapore; the co-pilot was French.

AirAsia invited "family members to Surabaya, where a dedicated team of care providers will be assigned to each family to ensure that all of their needs are met," including from "counsellors, religious and spiritual personnel." CEO Tony Fernandes said he is "absolutely devastated." The search is now on for the "black box" flight data and cockpit voice recorders, as well as the remaining passengers. --Peter Weber