Missing jet believed to be ‘at bottom of sea’

The AirAsia aircraft that went missing after taking off from Indonesia with 162 people on board may be at the bottom of the sea, a top Indonesian official said on Monday as the multinational search for the Airbus aircraft continued amid fading hopes of finding any survivors.

“Based on the coordinates given to us and evaluation that the estimated crash position is in the sea, the hypothesis is [that] the plane is at the bottom of the sea,” National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo told reporters in Jakarta.

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

If the plane is found on the ocean floor, there would be a challenge in getting the plane to the surface because they do not have the “submersible” equipment, Mr. Soelistyo said.

Searching for the Singapore-bound Flight QZ8501, an Indonesian helicopter on Monday saw two oily spots in the Java Sea while an Australian search plane spotted “suspicious” objects near Nangka island, more than 1,000 km from the location where contact with the plane was lost.

However, Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said the objects spotted by the Australian aircraft were not from the missing plane. “No sufficient evidence was found to confirm what was reported,” Mr. Kalla told reporters at Surabaya airport. Indonesia Air Force spokesman Rear Marshal Hadi Tjahnanto told MetroTV that the oily spots seen by the copter in the Java Sea east of Belitung island were not linked to the missing plane.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2022 10:49:02 am |