Official: Sonar may have detected wreckage from AirAsia Flight QZ8501

There was conflicting information about whether any parts of the plane had been located underwater.

One search official told CNN that he believes sonar equipment has detected wreckage from the plane at the bottom of the sea.

“I think that that’s the case,” said Muhammad Hernanto, the head of search and rescue for the city of Surabaya, where Flight 8501 began its journey on Sunday. He was dialing back earlier comments he made to CNN in which he said the sonar equipment had located wreckage from the plane.

Indonesia’s national search and rescue chief said the body of the aircraft hasn’t yet been discovered.

“Until now, we haven’t found the plane,” Bambang Soelistyo said, according to Indonesia’s national news agency Antara. “We’ve only found seven bodies to this day.”

The grim discovery Tuesday of parts of the missing plane and several bodies on the surface of the sea dealt a heartbreaking blow to families whose loved ones were lost.

Some experts have said the aircraft might have experienced an aerodynamic stall because of a lack of speed or from flying at too sharp an angle to get enough lift.

Analysts have also suggested the pilots might not have been getting information from onboard systems about the plane’s position or that rain or hail from thunderstorms in the area could have damaged the engines.

The key to understanding what happened is likely to be contained in the aircraft’s flight recorders.

“Until we get the black boxes, we won’t know what’s going on with the engines,” said Bill Savage, a former pilot with 30 years of experience.

Anguish revisited: Relatives of MH370 victims speak out about AirAsia QZ8501

CNN’s Andrew Stevens, Elizabeth Joseph, Felicia Wong, Mitra Mobasherat, Gary Tuchman, Brian Walker, Khushbu Shah, Jake Tapper and Will Ripley, journalist Archicco Guilianno and translators Azieza Uhnavy and Edi Pangerapan contributed to this report.