Search For QZ8501 Continues With Help From Singapore and Malaysia

The search for the missing AirAsia QZ8501 has resumed on Monday morning (Dec 29).

“We have resumed the search for the missing AirAsia plane at 6am. We are heading to east Belitung island,” Tatang Zainuddin, deputy operations chief of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), told AFP.

Five aircraft will be sent to search for the plane, including two C-130 military transport aircraft and a Boeing 737, Indonesian air force spokesman Hadi Cahyanto told AFP.

“Two planes have already left. Three more will follow suit. It is cloudy in some parts but still bright,” Cahyanto said. “We are focusing the search area in the waters on the eastern and northern part of Belitung island.”

Channel NewsAsia also understands that a second C-130 from the Republic of Singapore Air Force was deployed for search-and-locate operations before 7am Singapore time on Monday.

Singapore had offered two C-130 planes for search-and-locate operations, and the first of two planes left at around 4.32pm on Sunday. The first plane carried out the search for two hours before leaving at 8.30pm after Indonesian authorities called off the search for the night.

In addition, Singapore also sent RSS Supreme, a Formidable-class frigate, and the RSS Valour, a missile corvette, late on Sunday night to join the search efforts.

Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Barsanas, said on Sunday that it had deployed seven ships and as many as 200 personnel to the search efforts.

Malaysia announced on Sunday that it was sending three navy ships and three aircraft to help in the search, while an Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion craft left Darwin to join the search operations Monday morning.

The missing AirAsia plane took off from Surabaya at 5.35am local time on Sunday, and was scheduled to land in Singapore at 8.30am Singapore time on Sunday. However, air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane at 7.24am Surabaya time. Singapore is an hour ahead of Surabaya.

There were 155 passengers on board, including 149 Indonesians. There were also six Indonesians and 1 French crew members, the budget airline revealed on Sunday.



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