Jakarta, Dec 30: It was a case of hoping against hope as pilots searching for the AirAsia plane that went missing in the Java Sea two days back Tuesday mistook the bodies floating in the water as survivors who were waving for help.
Tri Wibowo, a Hercules C-130 pilot, said he and his crew had a glimmer of hope that the passengers of the plane could be alive, The Independent reported. [Shocking! AirAsia Flight QZ8501 disaster was predicted 2 weeks before!]
"We thought that the passengers were still alive and waved at us for help," he told local news outlet kompas.com in an interview, which was cited by The Independent.
"But when we approached closer (we saw) they were already dead," the pilot said.
The plane was flying over the wreckage of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 at around 11 a.m.
Rescuers Tuesday spotted the wreckage of the ill-fated plane as well as bodies floating in the seawaters.
Wreckage was found in the Java Sea, roughly six miles from where the plane lost contact with air traffic control, including what Indonesian air force officials claim were items resembling a plane door and emergency slide.
The Airbus A320-200 aircraft with 155 passengers and seven crew members on board went missing soon after taking off from Surabaya in Indonesia's East Java province early Sunday morning on its way to Singapore's Changi airport.
The aircraft was at 32,000 feet over the Java Sea in Indonesian territory when it lost contact with the air traffic control amid a raging thunderstorm in the area.