Family members of those aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 collapsed in agony Tuesday as images of debris and a bloated body flashed across Indonesian television screens, proof that the plane crashed into the sea two days earlier with 162 people on board.
The low-cost carrier vanished Sunday halfway through a two-hour flight between Surabaya, Indonesia and Singapore after encountering storm clouds, sparking an international hunt with dozens of planes, ships and helicopters.
On the third day of searching, the first signs of the jet were found in shallow, aqua waters only about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the plane’s last known coordinates: A life jacket, an emergency exit door. Parts of the jetliner’s interior, including an oxygen tank, were brought to the nearest town, Pangkalan Bun. Another find included a bright blue plastic suitcase, completely unscratched.