The Indonesian Air Force scans the horizon searching for signs of AirAsia Flight QZ8501. (Associated Press)
On the third day of an international search after AirAsia flight QZ8501 disappeared from radar, the plane's wreckage and some bodies were found Tuesday in the Java Sea, about 10 miles from the last known coordinates.
As was feared, this shallow sea is the resting place of the 162 souls onboard. They will not be alone: Nestled between the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan (to the north), Java (to the south), Sumatra (to the west), and Sulawesi to the east, the Java Sea is already a graveyard of sorts. Many have lost their lives in the tropical waters.
A plane flies safely over the Java Sea. (Rob Danton/Flickr)
In Jan. 2007, a local Indonesian flight (of the now defunct Adam Air) carrying 102 souls on board lost contact with air traffic control over the Java Sea. Ten days later, debris from the plane was found off the coast of Sulawesi. There were no survivors. It was later determined that the plane went down due to pilot error.
There have also been a series of ferry accidents.
In Nov. 2009, a ferry carrying passengers between the Indonesian islands sank in stormy waters off the coast of Sumatra. Though more than 200 people were rescued, 30 people were killed in the rough waters.
In December 2006, a ferry carrying over 600 people broke apart as it was tossed among the waves in the Java Sea. More than 400 perished.
A passenger ship also sank in this corner of the ocean in 1981. The KMP Tampomas II caught fire while sailing from Jakarta to Sulawesi and sank near the Masalembu Islands. Hundreds died in the incident.
Beyond these tragedies, many shipwrecks sit in this enclave of the western Pacific Ocean. The most historical, perhaps, was confirmed this summer. In August, the U.S. Navy determined that a wreck found at the bottom of the Java Sea is the U.S.S. Houston, sunk by the Japanese during World War II. The vessel may hold the remains of as many as 700 American sailors and marines who went down with the ship.