Sonar equipment detected two large objects on the ocean floor giving Indonesian officials hope that it is wreckage of AirAsia Flight 8501.
National Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said a remote-operated Vehicle has been deployed to confirm the findings.
One object measured 31 feet by 15 feet and 20 inches high. The second, found nearby, measured 24 feet by 20 inches.
“I’m confident this is part of the AirAsia plane,” Soelistyo told reporters at a news conference Saturday.
Aviation experts believe the pilot of the doomed plane may have tried to land the jet in the ocean only to have it sink in the high seas.
“The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) would work on impact, be that land, sea or the sides of a mountain, and my analysis is it didn’t work because there was no major impact during landing,” Dudi Sudibyo, a senior editor of aviation magazine Angkasa, told the AFP. “The pilot managed to land it on the sea’s surface.”
The theory that passengers were alive at some point after impact appeared to be supported by Jusman Syafii Djamal, the former transport minister, who said that the fact that the emergency door was found intact may be evidence that the door was opened.
The Airbus A320 crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday with 162 people on board. Sixteen bodies have been recovered so far. Seven were announced Friday morning, six of which were found by a U.S. Navy ship, said Suryadi B. Supriyadi, operation coordinator for the National Search and Rescue Agency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report