A missing AirAsia jet carrying 162 people could be at the bottom of the sea after it was presumed to have crashed off the Indonesian coast, an official said on Monday, as countries around Asia sent ships and planes to help in the search effort.
The Indonesia AirAsia plane, an Airbus A320-200, disappeared after its pilot failed to get permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather during a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Flight QZ8501 did not issue a distress signal and disappeared over the Java Sea five minutes after requesting the change of course, which was refused because of heavy air traffic, officials said.
“Based on our coordinates, we expect it is in the sea, so for now (we think) it is on the sea floor,” Soelistyo, Head of Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters when asked about the missing plane’s likely location.
A senior Indonesian civil aviation source said that authorities had the flight’s radar data and were waiting for search and rescue teams to find debris before they started their investigation into the cause of the accident.
Onboard Flight QZ8501 were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. The co-pilot was French.