AirAsia plane crash site found; debris, bodies recovered from Java Sea

December 30, 2014 in International

– The missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 has been found, AirAsia Indonesia and BASARNAS has confirmed collectively on Tuesday evening. Evacuation efforts focused on retrieving the passengers and crew are curently underway.

– Indonesia air traffic control (ATC) lost contact with AirAsia flight QZ8501 bound for Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia and carrying 162 people on board went missing on Sunday morning, around an hour after it left Juanda International Airport at 5:35am Indonesia time.

– Indonesian rescue personnel are descending into the water to retrieve bodies and debris found in the area, about 10km away from where the plane was last seen on the radar. Indonesia’s BASARNAS chief says three bodies have been recovered from the area so far — two female and one male.

– The plane was over the Java Sea between Belitung island and Pontianak, on Indonesia’s part of Kalimantan island, tracked four minutes after its pilot, Captain Iriyanto, stopped responding to ATC. Iriyanto had requested at 6:12am Indonesia time to veer left (this was approved) and ascend to 38,000 feet from 32,000 feet. After Indonesia’s ATC informed the pilot at 6:14am Indonesia time of a revised height of 34,000 feet (because flight QZ8502 was cruising at 38,000 feet altitude), there was no response. The plane was then officially declared missing at 7:55am Indonesia time on Sunday.


Tuesday, 30 December

9:21pm: Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority says in its latest update that it is working with AirAsia to send 13 more next-of-kin of passengers and crew on board QZ8501 to Surabaya. It stressed, however, that it will continue providing assistance to the next-of-kin who choose to remain in Singapore.

Additionally, the landing ship tank — the RSS Persistence — has arrived at the search area, bringing the total assets Singapore has deployed in the search and evacuation effort to two C130 planes, two Super Puma helicopters and four navy ships.

The two specialist teams and their supporting equipment will also depart for the Belitung islands tomorrow morning. Singapore has additionally offered to contribute a disaster victim identification team to Surabaya.