AirAsia QZ8501: Search continues, claims plane may have crashed into the sea

DECEMBER 29, 2014

Indonesia’s search and rescue agency is still continuing its search for AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501, a day after it went missing with 162 people on board. The agency, however, said that available information indicates that the plane could be at the bottom of the sea – although, no evidence has so far been found of the plane's whereabouts.

Officials in Surabaya, from where the plane took off, said search teams were only just reaching the area of the Java Sea where the plane is believed to be.

Distraught relatives have been waiting for news at the Surabaya international airport in Indonesia.

Pilots requested route change

The Airbus A320-200 disappeared early on Sunday on a routine flight to Singapore. The pilots had requested a course change due to bad weather but did not send any distress call before the plane disappeared from radar screens.

"Based on the coordinates given to us and evaluation that the estimated crash position is in the sea, the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea," Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, told a press conference in Jakarta.

"That's the preliminary suspicion and it can develop based on the evaluation of the result of our search," he said.

Search

A search, near Belitung Island, was largely suspended as night fell on Sunday.

Although some ships continued the hunt overnight, the main search planes and vessels, from several nations, only resumed at first light on Monday.

Soelistyo said Indonesia was providing 12 ships, three helicopters and five military aircraft.

Indonesian transport ministry official Tatang Kurniadi said: "Our primary task is to find the plane. We are co-operating with every possible department, and relevant countries.

"This includes the department responsible for aircraft design, the aircraft manufacturer from France, and relevant operational teams from AirAsia and Malaysia."

Malaysia was to deploy a C-130 plane, along with three ships, with Singapore lending a C-130 and Australia also providing help.

AirAsia stock price falls

Meanwhile, AirAsia's share price fell 7% in morning trading on Monday in Kuala Lumpur.