Air Force Hercules C130 co-pilot Lt. Tri Wibowo, who flew on Tuesday over waters near Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan in the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, said that he saw dozens of floating bodies as well as bags and aircraft debris.
"We thought that the passengers were still alive and waved at us for help. But when we approached closer [we saw] they were already dead," said Tri as quoted by kompas.com.
Tri and the team scoured the area at around 11 a.m.
The Transportation Ministry earlier confirmed that white and red debris found near Pangkalan Bun belonged to the ill-fated flight, which vanished on Sunday en route to Singapore from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya in East Java.
The aircraft was carrying 162 people.
My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501. On behalf of AirAsia my condolences ... http://t.co/OJGobL93cR— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) December 30, 2014