An Indonesian Air Force pilot involved in search of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 said that he saw dozens of floating bodies as well as bags and aircraft debris.
The bodies and wreckage were sighted over waters near Pangkalan Bun at Central Kalimantan province in Borneo island, The Jakarta Post reported.
The transport ministry earlier confirmed that white and red debris found near Pangkalan Bun also belonged to the ill-fated flight with 162 people on board, which went missing Sunday en route to Singapore from Indonesia’s Surabaya city in East Java.
“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,” the pilot said.
The latest developments came as Indonesian authorities expanded search operation of the missing plane.
The search has expanded to land areas, with helicopters beginning the search in Kalimantan island as well as other islands in the region.