Official: AirAsia Jet 'Probably at Bottom of Sea'

Flight 8501's request to change altitude was denied
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2014 1:10 AM CST
Updated Dec 29, 2014 7:56 AM CST
Official: AirAsia Jet 'Probably at Bottom of Sea'
Relatives of passengers wait for the latest news on the missing jetliner at a crisis center set up by local authorities at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Trisnadi)

The search has resumed for missing AirAsia Flight 8501, but there appears to be no hope of anything but a tragic outcome. "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," the chief of Indonesia's search-and-rescue agency told reporters today. "That's the preliminary suspicion and it can develop based on the evaluation of the result of our search." A civil aviation source tells Reuters that authorities have the flight's radar data and are waiting for search teams in the Java Sea to find debris. More:

  • The plane, which was carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore, should be relatively easy to find if it went into the sea, an oceanographer tells the BBC. The seafloor in the area is within diver depth and it is "likely that they'll get answers within a few days," he says.

  • Indonesian officials say Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia are helping search a "very large area" for the missing Airbus A320, and the country has reached out to the US, the UK, and France for sonar technology that might be needed for an underwater search, CNN reports.
  • Investigators say there is no sign of a terrorist threat or any other foul play, reports the New York Times. The plane's last communication with air traffic control was a request to ascend to 38,000 feet to avoid a cloud, which was denied "because of traffic," an Indonesian government official says.
  • Toward the end of the second day of searching the sea between Borneo and Sumatra, there were no confirmed sightings of wreckage, although an Australian aircraft reported seeing "suspicious objects" around 700 miles from where the plane lost contact, reports the AP. An oil slick spotted closer to where the plane was last heard from was determined to be unrelated, officials tell CNN.
(Read more AirAsia stories.)

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