Wreckage of Indonesian airliner found at sea
Thursday, January 11, 2007; 2:54 AM
MAKASSAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Pieces of an Indonesian airliner which vanished with 102 people on board have been found on the ocean floor, officials said on Thursday, after a painstaking 10-day search from jungles to stormy seas.
Parts including a tail stabilizer and flight attendant seats were confirmed or reported found in the sea and on beaches near the town of Pare Pare on the west coast of Sulawesi island. A top search official later said that a woman's body recovered in the vicinity was not that of a missing passenger.
Exhausted relatives expressed relief that they finally had firm news on the plane, even if the news was not good, after a long wait and an erroneous report that the airliner had crashed in the jungle and some people had survived.
The Adam Air Boeing 737-400 was heading from Surabaya in Central Java to Manado in northern Sulawesi when it vanished in bad weather on New Year's Day. The plane made no distress call, although the pilot had reported concerns over the weather.
"This morning I announced that there has been a finding of a part of Adam Air. What was found was the right tail's stabilizer number 65C25746-76. This thing was found by a fisherman in Pare Pare," said Eddy Suyanto, who has been coordinating search efforts from an air base in the South Sulawesi capital, Makassar.
"This object has the same number as the Boeing catalog," he told reporters, displaying the slightly scratched white stabilizer of about 1 meter (3 ft) in length found on Wednesday.
Two flight attendant seats were also found on a beach on Thursday in the same general area, search and rescue official Immal Yuhani told Reuters.
A stream of other apparent wreckage had also been found and was being examined, said Genot Hardianto, the chief of police at Pare Pare, about 100 km (60 miles) north of Makassar.
"So far there have been eight fragments made of fiber and aluminum in sizes ranging from 25 to 50 cm long, a life vest, an ID card, a flare and a headrest," he said.
Metro Television showed footage of a series of local people holding what appeared to be plane fragments. One elderly woman showed a small square piece of mangled, white wreckage.
Elshinta radio said fishermen had discovered a life vest wrapper 10 km from the stabilizer's location.
Earlier, a police official told Reuters the body of a woman, estimated to be in her 30s, had been recovered, but Suyanto had ruled out her as one of the passengers. He did not elaborate.