news Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | December 29, 2014 | 7:45 am IST

Search and rescue operation for the AirAsia plane that went missing Sunday with 162 people on board resumed on Monday morning, a rescuer said.

"Some plane and helicopters have moved to the waters where the jetliner was believed to have lost since 05.30 a.m.," Ahmad Toha, official in charge at the National Search and Rescue Agency, told Xinhua over phone.

The operation was halted at 5 p.m. on Sunday due to darkness at the highly suspected area on the waters near the Bangka Belitung islands, he said.

"The agency has broadcast information to ships that were passing through the waters to join in monitoring the seas and asked them to report whether they found any signs of crash,"said Toha.

The army will conduct search over land around the scene where the plane was believed to have gone missing, according to Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia's acting director general of transportation.

Twelve navy ships, five planes, three helicopters and a number of warships are taking part in the search, along with ships and planes from Singapore and Malaysia and an Australian Air Force Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency chief has said that missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 is most likely “at the bottom of the sea.”

Bambang Soelistyo said during a press conference that “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,” 

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

Flight QZ8501 lost contact with the ground staff after the air traffic control consent to the pilot's request to change flight route but it did not approve the request to increase its height to 34,000 feet, said Murjatmodjo.

The Airbus A320-200 took off from Surabaya, in Indonesia's East Java province, for Singapore.

There were 155 passengers and seven crew members on board the flight.

With IANS

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