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Items Resembling Emergency Slide, Plane Door Spotted

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PANGKALUN BUN – Items resembling an emergency slide, plane door and other objects were spotted during an aerial search for missing Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501, Indonesian officials said.

“We spotted about 10 big objects and many more small white-coloured objects which we could not photograph,” Indonesian air force official Agus Dwi Putranto told a press conference on Tuesday.

“The position is 10km (six miles) from the location the plane was last captured by radar,” he said.

He displayed 10 photos of objects resembling a plane door, emergency slide, and a square box-like object.

“It is not really clear … it could be the wall of the plane or the door of the plane,” he said.

“Let’s pray that those objects are what we are really trying to find,” he said in Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

An AFP photographer on the same flight that spotted the debris said he had seen objects in the sea resembling a life raft, life jackets and long orange tubes.

Flight QZ8501 vanished from the radar screens on Sunday morning over the Java Sea about 40 minutes after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore.

The Airbus A320-200 aircraft had reportedly requested to deviate from its original flight path to avoid thick clouds and rise to a height of 38,000 feet from the initial height of 32,000 feet.

Indonesian air traffic control lost contact with the plane at 6.24am (Western Indonesian time, an hour behind Malaysian time) as it was flying with 155 passengers and seven crew members.

The search is focused on waters around the islands of Bangka and Belitung in the Java Sea, across from Kalimantan. – AFP

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