AirAsia Rescue Chief: The Plane is Likely at the Bottom of the Sea

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The Indonesian official in charge of the rescue of AirAsia flight QZ8501 says that aircraft is likely "at the bottom of the sea." That's a bleak outlook as rescue attempts start afresh this morning in an attempt to find survivors.

Speaking to the media on Monday morning, Bambang Soelistyo, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief, explained:

"Based on the co-ordinates 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. That's the preliminary suspicion and it can develop based on the evaluation of the result of our search."

The jet disappeared on Sunday morning, carrying 162 people, as it approached bad weather over the Java Sea. The pilot requested to deviate from its flight path due to cloud, but air traffic control lost contact with the plane just moments later. It didn't send a distress signal.

Indonesia's search effort includes 12 navy ships, five planes, three helicopters and warships. Despite the pessimism, Indonesia's First Admiral Sigit Setiayana has pointed out that visibility in the area is good and that, "God willing, we can find it soon."

Singapore, Malaysia and Australia have also sent ships to the area where the aircraft is suspected to have crashed. They will now comb an area of around 11,400 square nautical miles. [Guardian]