Missing AirAsia flight: Fernandes issues heartfelt apology to next-of-kin

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (pic) issued a heartfelt apology to family members of those on board QZ8501 flight, after news broke on Tuesday that the debris found floating at sea belonged to the missing plane.

"My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ8501. On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am.

"I am rushing to Surabaya. Whatever we can do at AirAsia we will be doing," he posted on Twitter as news emerged that Indonesian search officials had recovered a body close to where debris was earlier spotted.

Indonesia's civil aviation chief Djoko Murjatmodjo said on Tuesday afternoon that they were "95% sure" the debris spotted belonged to the missing plane, which lost contact with air traffic control early Sunday morning en route to Singapore from Surabaya.

Indonesian TV station, TVOne, also showed live footage of an SAR official recovering what looked to be a floating body from the water.

Other media reports indicated that six bodies had been retrieved so far, and are expected to be taken to Pangkalan Bun in Kalimantan.

A search plane has also spotted a 'shadow' on the seabed in the shape of an aircraft, believed to be that of the missing plane.