AirAsia Live: Both black boxes found, one still stuck under heavy wreckage

11.48 am: Both black boxes found

Divers have found the second black box from the AirAsia plane that crashed more than two weeks ago, but they have not yet been able to free it from debris on the floor of the Java Sea, says an Associated Press report.

Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, the operation coordinator at the National Search and Rescue Agency, says the cockpit voice recorder was located on Monday just hours after officials announced the data flight recorder had been brought to the surface.

He says it is stuck under heavy wreckage, and divers are working to lift it. Searchers began zeroing in on the sites a day earlier after three Indonesian ships picked up intense pings from the area.

9.54 am: Flight data recorder found, hunt on for cockpit voice recorder

According to an AFP report, the recorder, one of two black boxes containing vital information which is called the flight data recorder, was brought to the surface at 7:11 am.

National search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo told reporters, "We succeeded in bringing up part of the black box that we call the flight data recorder."

Divers were still hunting for the second black box, the cockpit voice recorder.
12 January 8.51 am: 1 black box retrieved

According to an Associated Press alert, Indonesia search official confirmed that divers have retrieved 1 black box from the crashed AirAsia flight on bottom of Java Sea.

"The navy divers in Jadayat state boat have succeeded in finding a very important instrument, the black box of AirAsia QZ8501," said Tonny Budiono, a senior ministry official. The recorders were at a depth of 30-32 metres (99-106 feet), he said in a statement.

End of updates for 10 January

12.00 pm: Indonesia deploys divers to investigate underwater pings

Divers were today sent to investigate underwater pings that may be coming from the flight recorders of the AirAsia plane as efforts continued to retrieve the jet's tail from the bottom of the Java Sea.

"Each team comprises 10 divers," Commander of the First Squad Indonesian Diver, Ebram Harimurti, said.

"We will work for a week, at least every day. We will attempt to dive four times to the location of the tail section," he said, adding the first team has been sent to verify the pings.

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency has deployed 20 professional divers to lift the tail of the ill-fated AirAsia QZ8501 flight that crashed on December 28 en route to Singapore from Surabaya with 162 people on board. - PTI

9 January  Pings detected from AirAsia crashed jet

According to an AFP report, ping signals believed to be from the black box data recorders of crashed AirAsia Flight 8501 were detected on Friday, a senior Indonesian search official said, offering strong hopes of explaining the disaster.

"A ship detected the pings. The divers are trying to reach it," said S B Supriyadi, who is stationed at the search headquarters of Pangkalan Bun. "The location of the ping is reported to be near where the tail was found."

But Associated Press report said it was still not confirmed if they were coming from the all-important black boxes, an official said.

Nurcahyo Utomo, a National Commission for Transportation Safety investigator, said the sounds could not be confirmed.

A day earlier, photos and video confirmed that part of the plane's tail had been found on the seabed - the first major wreckage seen since Flight 8501 went down 28 December with 162 passengers and crew on board, the Associated Press report said.

End of updates for 7 January

12.30 pm: Tail found, desperate hunt for black box

According to a Reuters report, AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes also tweeted that the tail has been found. He said on Twitter, ""I am led to believe the tail section has been found.If right part of tail section then the black box should be there."

"We've found the tail that has been our main target today," Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, the head of the search and rescue agency, told a news conference in Jakarta. The tail had been identified using an underwater remote operated vehicle, Soelistyo said, adding that the team "now is still desperately trying to locate the black box".

Forty bodies and debris from the plane have been plucked from the surface of the waters off Borneo, but strong winds and high waves have prevented divers from reaching larger pieces of suspected wreckage detected by sonar on the sea floor.

Locating the tail has been a priority because the cockpit voice and flight data recorders crucial for investigators trying to establish why the plane crashed are located in the rear section of the Airbus A320-200.

7 January 2015: 10.30 am: Indonesian official confirms tail of missing AirAsia plane found in Java Sea

According to an Associated Press alert, Indonesian officials have confirmed that the tail of missing AirAsia plane was found in Java Sea.

It was reported earlier by the news agency that at least two divers plunged into the choppy waters early Wednesday during a break in the bad weather to search for two large objects suspected of being chunks of the fuselage of the AirAsia plane.

In this undated underwater photo released by Indonesia's National Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, the part of the wreckage that BASARNAS identified as of the ill-fated AirAsia Flight 8501, is seen in the waters of the Java Sea, Indonesia. AP

In this undated underwater photo released by Indonesia's National Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, the part of the wreckage that BASARNAS identified as of the ill-fated AirAsia Flight 8501, is seen in the waters of the Java Sea, Indonesia. AP

The find is particularly important because the all-important cockpit voice and flight data recorders, or black boxes, are located in the aircraft's tail.

Following days of strong currents and murky water that hindered the operation, searchers managed to get a photograph of the debris, National Search and Rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo told reporters.

A US Navy ship, the USS Fort Worth, detected the latest two objects on Tuesday at a depth of 28 meters (92 feet) near the Karimata Strait off Indonesia.

"We will start to identify the wreckage, which appears to be part of the jet's body, as quickly as possible," Indonesian search and rescue operation coordinator Tatang Zainudin said

End of updates for 5 January

10.35 pm: Heartfelt address by QZ8501 pilot's daughter, pleads everyone not to blame her father

According to this report in The Independent, 22-year-old Angela Anggi Ranastianis appeared on National TV and begged people not to blame her father -- the pilot of QZ8501 -- for the crash. Captain Iriyanto disappeared between Surabaya in Indonesia and Singapore.

The Independent quoted her as saying: "As a daughter, I cannot accept it. No pilot will harm his passengers," the Straits Times reported.

Indonesia cracks down on aviation sector after AirAsia crash

Highlighting the depth of Indonesia’s air safety problems, the transportation ministry announced harsh measures on Monday against everyone who allowed AirAsia Flight QZ8501 to take off without proper permits including the suspension of the airport’s operator and officials in the control tower.

According to a report in the Associated Press, the routing permits of all airlines flying in the country also will be examined to see if they are violating the rules, said Djoko Murjatmodjo, acting director general of air transportation.

"Who knows if other airlines are also doing the same thing," he said.

The crackdown comes as searchers continue to fight bad weather while combing the Java Sea for bodies and wreckage of the Airbus A320 that crashed on 28 December, killing all 162 passengers and crew on board.

2.42 pm: Indonesian officials may have located AirAsia flight QZ8501's tail section

An Indonesian naval patrol vessel found on Monday could be the tail of a missing AirAsia jet, the section where the crucial black box voice and flight data recorders are located, the captain told Reuters.

"We found what has a high probability of being the tail of the plane," Yayan Sofyan, captain of the patrol vessel, told reporters. However, the Indonesian search and rescue agency is yet to confirm the discovery.

The main focus of the search is about 90 nautical miles off the coast of Borneo island, where five large objects believed to be parts of the plane - the largest about 18 metres (59 feet) long - have been pinpointed in shallow waters by ships using sonar.

10.00 am: Indonesia expands search for bodies, wreckage

According to an AFP report, Indonesia's recovery teams have expanded their search in the Java Sea on Monday as they raced to find bodies and wreckage from AirAsia Flight 8501.

There are fears that the wreckage may have drifted in rough weather that has hampered operations over the past week.

"Hopefully the weather is good today so that the ROVs (remotely-operated underwater vehicles) and other instruments can be used and our divers can go to the seabed again," search and rescue official S.B. Supriyadi told AFP.

Only 34 bodies have so far been recovered from the disaster scene. A total of 162 people were onboard when the plane crashed into the sea during on a storm on December 28, en route from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

National Search and Rescue Agency personnel carry the body of a victim aboard the ill-fated AirAsia Flight 8501 after being airlifted by a Singapore Navy Super Puma helicopter at the airport in Pangkalan Bun. AP

National Search and Rescue Agency personnel carry the body of a victim aboard the ill-fated AirAsia Flight 8501 after being airlifted by a Singapore Navy Super Puma helicopter at the airport in Pangkalan Bun. AP

End of updates for 4 January

12. 40 pm: Fifth large object found on sea bed

Indonesia's search and rescue teams on Sunday located a fifth large object on the seabed believed to be of a missing AirAsia plane.

National Search and Rescue Agency head Bambang Soelistyo said the object - 9.8 metres long, 1.1 metres wide and 0.4 metre high - has been located on the seabed. Nine ships have been sent to the area to continue the search, Soelistyo was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The latest finding has made the total number of located objects to five, as four others were found Saturday. The biggest one among them measures 18 meters long.

11.45 am: Plane did not have permission to fly on route, says Indonesia

According to news reports, Indonesia said that AirAsia QZ8501 flight had been flying on an unauthorised schedule when it crashed. The airline has now been suspended from flying the Surabaya-Singapore route.

But the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said it had granted permission for the airline's Sunday flight, says an AFP report.

It was unclear how the airline, a unit of Malaysia-based AirAsia, had been able to fly without the necessary authorisation from its starting point. The company has declined to comment until the probe is complete, but said it would "fully cooperate" with the government.

11.40 am: AirAsia crash due to ice, says Indonesia's met agency 

Weather was the "triggering factor" in the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 with icing likely causing engine damage, Indonesia's meteorological agency said as divers prepared to search the plane wreckage Sunday, reports AFP.

Based on the available data received on the location of the aircraft's last contact, the weather was the triggering factor behind the accident," said the report.

"The most probable weather phenomenon was icing which can cause engine damage due to a cooling process. This is just one of the possibilities that occurred based on the analysis of existing meteorological data," says the agency.

3 January 2015: Four large objects discovered, divers sent in 

As the hunt for the wreckage of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 continues, officials say they are confident that they have located the plane on the ocean floor. Sonar equipment detected four massive objects on the ocean floor, reports Associated Press.

According to the report, Henry Bambang Soelistyo chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency said that the biggest piece, measuring 18 meters (59 feet) long and 5.4 meters (18 feet) wide, appeared to be part of the jet's body. After nearly a week of searching, only 30 bodies have been found floating in the waters.

End of updates for 2 January 2015

8.10 pm: Rescue team recover 30 bodies, some were strapped to their seats

After nearly a week of searching for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501, rescue teams battling monsoon rains had their most successful day yet on Friday, more than tripling the number of bodies pulled from the Java Sea, some still strapped to their seats.

Of the 30 corpses recovered so far, 21 were found on Friday, many of them by a US Navy ship, according to officials.

10.20 am: 7 more bodies recovered, total goes up to 16

According to an Associated Press report, sixteen bodies have been recovered so far. Seven were announced on Friday morning, six of which were found by a US Navy ship, said Suryadi B Supriyadi, operation coordinator for the National Search and Rescue Agency.

10.00 am: Search area for QZ8501 fixed

The "most probable area" for search of the missing AirAsia flight has been demarcated, Royal Malaysian Navy Chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar said Friday.

He said the search area was established with a dimension of 1,575 sq nautical miles, Xinhua cited from a tweet by the navy chief.

"This is most likely the area of the missing plane," he added, posting an image mapping out the search area.

He said three ships were tasked to search there and the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency had assigned diving teams to carry out diving and underwater search.

9.00 am: Searchers to use acoustic equipment to locate black box

According to a Reuters report, a specialist multinational team armed with acoustic equipment will arrive at the suspected crash site of a sunken AirAsia jet off Borneo on Friday in order to search for the black box recorders.

The report points out that France's BEA crash investigation agency had confirmed that a ship with two hydrophones, or underwater acoustic detection devices, was due to arrive at the scene early on Friday with French, Singaporean and Indonesian experts aboard.

Previously sonar images had shown the wreckage of the plane in the Java Sea, but it was believed that strong winds, waves maybe have moved the wreckage further away from the original crash site.

AP

Lt. Col. Johnson Simanjuntak of Indonesian Commander Air Field Iskandar Pangkalan Bun shows off parts of a plane found floating on the water near the site where AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared. AP

2 January 2015, 8.00 am: Bad weather continues to affect search

According to an Associated Press,  more ships arrived onFriday with sensitive equipment to hunt for the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501.

The report quotes, Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo as saying that efforts would be stepped up as long as the weather allowed. "We will focus on underwater detection," he added.

The Airbus A320 crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday with 162 people on board. Ten bodies have been recovered so far, with the latest, a female victim, announced on Friday morning.

Nine planes, many with metal detecting equipment, were also scouring a 13,500 square kilometer (8,380 square mile) area off Pangkalan Bun.

End of updates from 1 January 2015

5.10 pm: First victim of flight QZ8501 identified, body returned to family

A passenger aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 became the first victim of the crash to be returned to her family Thursday, one of many painful reunions to come, as search crews struggled against wind and heavy rain to find more than 150 people still missing.

Hayati Lutfiah Hamid's identity was confirmed by fingerprints and other means, said Col. Budiyono of East Java's Disaster Victim Identification Unit.

Her body, in a dark polished casket topped with flowers, was handed over to her family at a brief ceremony at a police hospital in Surabaya, the Indonesian city where the plane had taken off. A family member cried as she put both hands on the coffin.

After a Muslim cleric said a prayer for the deceased, the casket was immediately taken to a village and lowered into a muddy grave, following Muslim obligations requiring bodies to be buried quickly. An imam said a simple prayer as about 150 people gathered in the drizzling rain, and red flowers were sprinkled over the mound of wet dirt with a small white tombstone.

Flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday with 162 people aboard. Eight bodies have been recovered, including one brought Thursday to Pangkalan Bun, the nearest town to where the wreckage was spotted Tuesday.

In the thick of Indonesia's rainy season, the weather has frequently prevented helicopters and divers from operating while strong sea currents have kept debris moving.

Singapore's navy sent in an unmanned underwater vehicle capable of surveying the seabed to try to help pinpoint the wreckage and the all-important "black boxes" — the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. Indonesian equipment in the search includes a minesweeper, a private survey ship that specializes in sea mapping and a vessel that can conduct 3-D imaging and detect pings from the black boxes. Aircraft capable of detecting metal also were deployed.

We are "focusing on finding the body of the plane," Indonesia air force spokesman Rear Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto told reporters. "There was something like a dark shadow once seen from a plane, but it cannot yet be proven as wreckage."

The seven bodies were recovered from an area off Borneo island, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the site where bodies were first spotted. Remains are being sent initially to Pangkalan Bun, the closest town, before being transported to Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, where Flight 8501 had taken off.

Choppy conditions had prevented divers from entering the water Wednesday, and helicopters were largely grounded, but 18 ships continued to survey the narrowed search area.

Sonar images have identified what appeared to be large parts of the plane.

"It's possible the bodies are in the fuselage," said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun. "So it's a race now against time and weather."

The longer the search takes, the more bodies will decompose and the more debris will scatter.

Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas in Australia said there's a good chance the plane hit the water largely intact, and that many passengers remain inside it.

He said the bodies recovered so far "would have come out with a breach in the fuselage," he said. "But most passengers still should have had their seat belts on, particularly as the plane was going into weather. The captain would have still had the seat belt sign on."

4.50 pm: Debris suggests flight QZ8501 made emergency water landing

As search teams hunt for the black boxes of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, analysts say the pilot may have managed to make an emergency water landing, only for the plane to be overcome by high seas.

The Airbus A320-200 left the Indonesian city of Surabaya early Sunday and disappeared from radar over the Java Sea during a storm, but it failed to send the transmissions normally emitted when a plane crashes or is submerged.

Experts say this suggests the experienced former air force pilot, Captain Iriyanto, conducted an emergency water landing which did not have a destructive impact.

"The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) would work on impact, be that land, sea or the sides of a mountain, and my analysis is it didn't work because there was no major impact during landing," said Dudi Sudibyo, a senior editor of aviation magazine Angkasa.

"The pilot managed to land it on the sea's surface," he added.

The plane, carrying 162 people to Singapore, was cruising at a height of 32,000 feet when the pilot requested a change of course to avoid storms.

Although permission was granted to turn left, the pilot was not immediately allowed to ascend owing to heavy air traffic, and the plane disappeared from radar soon afterwards.

Some analysts have suggested the plane stalled because it was travelling too slowly or climbed too steeply. It is unclear why there was no mayday distress signal from the cockpit.

Indonesia's search team scoured the sea for more than 48 hours before the first debris was spotted off the island of Borneo after a tip-off from fishermen.

Mid-air explosion unlikely

So far the search team has found eight bodies which appear to be intact.

"The conclusions I have come to so far are that the plane did not blow up mid-air, and it did not suffer an impact when it hit a surface, because if it did so then the bodies would not be intact," Chappy Hakim, a former air force commander, told AFP.

The fuselage is also thought to be largely intact after aerial searchers saw a "shadow" on the seabed, where operations are now being focused.

An emergency exit door and an inflatable slide were among the first items recovered by the search team, suggesting the first passengers may have started the evacuation process once the plane landed on water.

Former transport minister Jusman Syafii Djamal was convinced the discovery of the floating exit door meant "someone had opened it".

Passengers may have been waiting for a flight attendant to inflate a life raft when a high wave hit the nose and sank the plane, Djamal added.

"High waves may have hit the plane, the nose, and sunk the plane."

Flight safety standards require that all passengers can be evacuated from a plane in 90 seconds.

The cause and more details of the crash will remain unclear until investigators find the all-important black boxes, which will answer questions such as why the underwater locator beacon did not work.

Experts from France and Singapore have joined Indonesian transport safety investigators in their hunt for wreckage of the plane operated by AirAsia Indonesia, a unit of Malaysia-based AirAsia which previously had a good safety record.

If found, the cockpit voice recorder should detail the conversations of the pilots for the whole of the short flight and reveal their last moments.

"We can only find out from the black box," said Sudibyo.

2.34 pm: Flight attendant, who died in crash, left message to her boyfriend

A flight attendant whose body was recovered from the wreckage of AirAsia's QZ8501 had left a message for her boyfriend on social media, The Independent reported.

As one of her last posts on Instagram, the air hostess uploaded a photo with a note for her boyfriend with the words "I love you from 38,000ft," the report added.

The report further added that it is not clear though whether the photo was taken on flight QZ8501 before it crashed in the Java Sea.

Yes! I love you! ?? #love #caption #wings #aircraft

A photo posted by Nisa Fauzie (@nisaafauzie) on

#throwback #slim ????

A photo posted by Nisa Fauzie (@nisaafauzie) on

2.24 pm: 'Locating the missing black box of QZ8501 could take weeks'

Officials waiting to inspect the possible wreck of the AirAsia jet off Borneo were unable to resume operations because of heavy seas and they said it could take a week to find the black box flight recorders.

"I am hoping that the latest information is correct and aircraft has been found," airline boss Tony Fernandes tweeted on Thursday. "Please all hope together. This is so important."

But Toos Sanitiyoso, an air safety investigator with the National Committee for Transportation Safety, said the black box flight data and voice recorders could be found within a week, suggesting there was still doubt over the plane's location.

Distraught relatives of the passengers of QZ8501 weep at the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. AP

Distraught relatives of the passengers of QZ8501 weep at the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. AP

"The main thing is to find the main area of the wreckage and then the black box," he told reporters. None of the tell-tale black box "pings" had been detected, he said.

"There are two steps of finding the black box. One is we try to find the largest portion of the wreckage," he said.

Divers would not be sent into the water without a target, search official Sunarbowo Sandi said.

"They wouldn't go in without it," he said. "The divers are not searching."

Frogman commander Lieutenant Edi Tirkayasa said the weather was making the operation extra hard.

"What is most difficult is finding the location where the plane fell - checking whether the aircraft is really there," he told Reuters.

"This is very difficult even with sophisticated equipment. With weather like this, who knows? We are still hopeful and optimistic that they'll find it. They must."

Investigators are working on a theory that the plane stalled as it climbed steeply to avoid a storm about 40 minutes into the flight.

11.00 am: Search for AirAsia's missing flight QZ8501 resumes, more bodies found

A much needed break in the weather gave searchers a window on Thursday to "fight with full force" to find the victims of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, with officials also hustling to locate the plane's fuselage after it crashed into the Java Sea four days ago.

"The visibility is good this morning, we are ready to fight with full force to search for bodies, wreckage that can reveal what went wrong with this accident," said First Marshal Agus Dwi Putranto, an Air Force Operation commander helping to lead the effort, adding four aircraft were dispatched to the area just after sunrise.

1 January 10.00 am: AirAsia jet made unbelieveably steep climb before crash

Radar data being examined by investigators appeared to show that AirAsia Flight QZ8501 made an "unbelievably" steep climb before it crashed, possibly pushing it beyond the Airbus A320's limits, said a source familiar with the probe's initial findings. The data was transmitted before the aircraft disappeared from the screens of air traffic controllers in Jakarta on Sunday, added the source, who declined to be identified, reports AP.

End of updates for December 31

1.53 pm: Bad weather hobbles Indonesia jet recovery; 7 bodies found

Bad weather hindered efforts to recover victims of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 on Wednesday, and sent wreckage drifting far from the crash site, as grieving relatives "surrounded in darkness" gathered in an airport and prayed for the strength to move forward.

Quoting an official with Indonesia's search and rescue agency, Reuters said that a body recovered from the crashed AirAsia plane was wearing a life jacket, raising questions about how the disaster unfolded.

Reuters image.

Reuters image.

The massive hunt for 162 people who vanished Sunday aboard the Airbus A320 from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore, was severely limited due to heavy rain, wind and thick clouds. Seven bodies, including a flight attendant still wearing her red AirAsia uniform, have been recovered, said Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo.

The weather prevented divers from retrieving bodies in the Java Sea on Wednesday, and helicopters were largely grounded, but ships were still scouring the area, Associated Press reported.

Sonar images identified what appeared to be large parts of the plane, but strong currents were moving the wreckage.

"It seems all the wreckage found has drifted more than 50 kilometers from Tuesday's location," said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun on Borneo island, the closest town to the site. "We are expecting those bodies will end up on beaches."

1.11 pm: Airbus pledges full support to the families of the victims

Indonesian rescuers believe they have found the wreck of a crashed AirAsia plane on the ocean floor off Borneo, after sonar detected a large, dark object beneath waters where debris and bodies were found floating.

Indonesian rescuers have recovered various bits of debris, including luggage, and seven bodies floating in shallow waters.

Authorities in Surabaya were making preparations to receive and identify bodies, including arranging 130 ambulances to take victims to a police hospital and collecting DNA from relatives.

"We are praying it is the plane so the evacuation can be done quickly," Hernanto said.

Most of the people on board were Indonesians. No survivors have been found. Airbus, the world's leading aircraft manufacturer, said the Indonesian authorities had informed them that the accident site had been located.

"The company wishes to offer the sincere sympathies of its management and staff to all those who have been affected by the loss of this aircraft.

10.50 am: PM Modi offers condolences to family members of flight QZ8501

PM Modi tweeted out today offering his thoughts and prayers for those who lost their loved ones in the disastrous crash.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes also tweeted out saying that he hoped to fly to the evacuation site.

10.40 am: Sonar image of missing plane may have been spotted

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Indonesia's search-and-rescue agency had obtained a sonar image it says may be the body of the missing plane at the bottom of the Java Sea.

The newspaper quoted the agency as saying the image appeared to show an aircraft upside down in 24-30 meters (78-98 feet) of water.

According to a Reuters report, the discovery of fully clothed bodies could indicate the plane was intact when it hit the water and support a theory that the Airbus A320-200 suffered an aerodynamic stall and plunged into the sea.

"The fact that the debris appears fairly contained suggests the aircraft broke up when it hit the water, rather than in the air," said Neil Hansford, a former pilot and chairman of consultancy firm Strategic Aviation Solutions told Reuters.

9.30 am: Indonesia searchers have found the wreckage of the plane

According to a CNN report, Indonesia has found the wreckage of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 at the bottom of the Java Sea with the help of sonar equipment. The report on CNN adds, that searchers added that they "still don't know if it's in one piece or broken up."

8.30 am: 6 bodies recovered so far from the AirAsia Crash

Indonesia search and rescue says 6 bodies recovered so far from AirAsia crash in Java Sea. According to an Associated Press report, six bodies lost in the AirAsia crash have so far been recovered from the Java Sea, including a woman wearing a flight attendant's uniform.

Henry Bambang Soelistyo says three bodies were retrieved Tuesday, while the others were found after the search resumed Wednesday morning. On Tuesday, the number had varied with different officials saying as many as six corpses had been discovered.

He says half of those found were male and half were female.

31 December 7.50 am: Bad weather affects search for bodies in flight QZ8501 crash 

AFP reports that Indonesia's rescue operations in flight QZ8501 crash were disrupted due to stormy weather. AirAsia's Flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java sea at the weekend, with 162 people on board. According to search missions, there are no survivors from the crash.

"We are experiencing bad weather now. Rains and winds prevented us from resuming the search operation this morning," air force rescue coordinator S.B. Supriyadi told AFP.

The first proof of the jet's fate emerged Tuesday in an area not far from where it dropped off radar screens when six bodies and debris that included a life jacket, an emergency exit door and a suitcase were found floating in the sea.

On Wednesday, divers were deployed, but heavy rain and clouds grounded helicopters, said Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo.

End of updates for 30 December 

10.05 pm: US plans to send second ship to help search for wreckage from flight 8501

The US Navy plans to send a second ship to help search for wreckage from an AirAsia jet that apparently crashed off the Indonesian coast, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The USS Fort Worth, a littoral combat ship, is "prepared to deploy from the region from Singapore," spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told CNN.

"That ship can be ready to sail in a day or two," Kirby said.

An American destroyer, the USS Sampson, has already deployed to the area to aid with international efforts to find debris and bodies from the passenger plane that disappeared with 162 people on board.

The navy also was ready to provide maritime patrol aircraft to "help map the debris field on the surface" as well as sonar equipment if necessary to track down wreckage at the bottom of the sea, Kirby added.

Searchers on Tuesday spotted debris and bodies at sea that were believed to be from AirAsia Flight QZ8501, which disappeared en route from Indonesia's second city Surabaya to Singapore amid a storm on Sunday.

7:12 pm: AirAsia CEO says 'my heart is filled with sadness'

Relatives of those who died in the crash. AFP

Relatives of those who died in the crash. AFP

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes Tuesday expressed his grief to the relatives of the 162 passengers and crew who were on board Flight QZ8501 after wreckage and bodies were spotted at sea.

"My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ8501. On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am," he wrote on Twitter.

Fernandes said he was rushing to Surabaya in Indonesia, where the plane took off on Sunday bound for Singapore and where relatives have gathered.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ8501," his Malaysia-based airline said in a statement.

It said employees of affiliate AirAsia Indonesia, which operated the crashed plane, had been sent to the site in the Karimata Strait where debris was found and would fully cooperate in the investigation.

AirAsia Indonesia announced it would invite family members to Surabaya, "where a dedicated team of care providers will be assigned to each family to ensure that all of their needs are met".

Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said his country "stands in solidarity with the families and loved ones of those onboard (the AirAsia flight)and offers our deepest condolences".

"This is indeed a trying time for those affected and Malaysia is deeply saddened by this tragedy," Liow said in a statement, offering Indonesia all possible help.

7.01 pm: Pilot says he saw three of the bodies holding hands

The pilot who discovered the AirAsia plane debri in the Java Sea said he saw that three of the bodies recovered were holding hands, according to The Independent.

Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo held a press conference, according to BBC, in which he condoled the deaths in the incident, saying, "We pray for strength for the families...We thank countries around the region for helping with the search for the plane."

Widodo also said, "Search and rescue operation will continue, and all teams must focus on finding passengers and crew."

6.02 pm: Indonesian Navy clarifies, says not 40 but only 3 bodies retrieved

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief said Tuesday that just three bodies had been recovered so far in the search for the AirAsia plane which crashed in the Java Sea, after another official said 40 had been found.

"Today we evacuated three bodies and they are now in the warship Bung Tomo," Bambang Soelistyo told a news conference in Jakarta, adding that they were two females and one male.

Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir told AFP earlier that according to naval radio a warship had recovered more than 40 bodies from the sea. But he later said that report was a miscommunication by his staff.

3.15 pm: More than 40 bodies retrieved from AirAsia plane QZ8501, says Indonesian Navy

Even as the search for missing AirAsia plane 8501 continues, Indonesian navy says they have found more than 40 bodies of those who were travelling in the aircraft.

Relatives of passengers on AirAsia flight QZ8501 began crying hysterically and fainting Tuesday as Indonesian television footage showed a body floating in the sea during aerial searches for the plane.

Distraught family members of those who died after AirAsia's QZ8501. AFP

Distraught family members of those who died after AirAsia's QZ8501. AFP

At least two distraught family members were carried out on stretchers from the room where they had been waiting for news in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city -- the take-off point for the aircraft that disappeared during a storm on Sunday.

"My heart will be totally crushed if it's true. I will lose a son," 60-year-old Dwijanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.

As the first body was shown floating in the water on rolling television news, relatives burst into tears and hugged one another amid cries for more ambulances, said an AFP reporter at the scene.

An Associated Press video shows Indonesia navy officials pulling the bodies of victims out of the sea.

3.00 pm: Here's a video of search operations for missing AirAsia flight

An Associated Press video shows debris floating in the sea off Borneo Islands.

1.34 pm: 6 bodies retrieved where AirAsia's QZ8501 disappeared 

Indonesian officials on Tuesday spotted six bodies from the AirAsia flight that disappeared two days earlier, and recovered three of them, in a painful end to the aviation mystery off the coast of Borneo island.

The bodies were found in Java Sea waters about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Flight QZ8501's last communications with air-traffic control.

Images on local television showed at least one bloated corpse.

The bodies, swollen but intact, were brought to an Indonesian navy ship, National Search and Rescue Director SB Supriyadi told reporters in the nearest town, Pangkalan Bun. The corpses did not have life jackets on.

Indonesian air force members during the rescue mission. AFP image.

Indonesian air force members during the rescue mission. AFP image.

Images on Indonesian television showed a half-naked bloated body bobbing in the sea. Search and rescue teams were lowered on ropes from a hovering helicopter to retrieve corpses.

As family members of the plane's passengers sat together in a waiting room at the Surabaya airport, they watched the graphic details on television. Many screamed and wailed uncontrollably, breaking down into tears while they squeezed each other. One middle-aged man collapsed and was rushed from the room on a stretcher, AP report said.

Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir confirmed the discovery to TVOne, saying several victims were found, but he did not indicate whether they were dead or alive. Air Force spokesman Hadi Tjahjanto told MetroTV at least one body was found.

As reports came in, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted this message for the families of the victims.

Al Jazeera in its report said that shadow under water, which were captured during aerial search, could be of more bodies or the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501.

The position where the debris and bodies were spotted floating is 10 km from the location where the plane was last captured on radar, TV channels confirmed.

12.54 pm: Officials confirm debris spotted in sea is from missing AirAsia flight

Debris spotted Tuesday during an aerial search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 is from the missing plane, Indonesia's director general of civil aviation told AFP.

"For the time being it can be confirmed that it's the AirAsia plane and the transport minister will depart soon to Pangkalan Bun," Djoko Murjatmodjo said.

Meanwhile, Associated Press reported that the Indonesian officials have told a local TV that 'victims' spotted near site where AirAsia plane disappeared.

If the debris is indeed that of the missing QZ8501 flight, it is almost certain that none of the 162 passengers onboard the AirAsia flight are alive, a TV channel added.

Search operations have been intensified. Officials are now trying to figure out where the flight QZ8501 had crashed in the sea. Further details are awaited.

Relatives of passengers who were on AirAsia's ill-fated flight wait at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.  AP

Relatives of passengers who were on AirAsia's ill-fated flight wait at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. AP

12.21 pm: Red and white debris sighted off Kalimantan is probably from AirAsia QZ8501, say officials

Red and white debris sighted off Indonesia's Kalimantan coast is likely to be part the AirAsia jet presumed to have crashed in shallow waters off the Indonesian coast, a transportation ministry official said on Tuesday.

"The debris is red and white," Djoko Murjatmodjo, acting director general of air transportation at the transportation ministry, told Reuters. "We are checking if it's debris from the aircraft. It's probably from the body of the aircraft."

Based on the size and colouring of the debris, it was likely to be part of the missing jet, Murjatmodjo added.

12.13 pm: Smoke seen in Java Sea

Smoke was reportedly seen rising from an island in the Java Sea as the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501, which disappeared from the radar while en route from Indonesia to Singapore, expanded Tuesday.

According to Indonesian officials, the smoke was spotted in Long island, one of the thousands that make up the Indonesian archipelago, Xinhua reported.

The Indonesian authorities had sent two planes to the area to check the latest finding.

Bambang Sulistyo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said the search would be expanded to land areas, with helicopters beginning the search in Kalimantan island as well as other islands in the area.

11.00 am: Emergency slide and plane door found

According to AFP, items resembling emergency slide, plane door seen in search for AirAsia's missing flight QZ8501, Indonesian officials have said.

An AFP photographer on the search flight that spotted the possible debris said he had seen objects in the sea resembling a life raft, life jackets and long orange tubes.

Indonesian air force official Agus Dwi Putranto was quoted by AFP: "We spotted about 10 big objects and many more small white-coloured objects which we could not photograph."

"The position is 10 kilometres (six miles) from the location the plane was last captured by radar," he said.

Relative of the passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 weep as she waits for the latest news on the missing QZ8501 in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. AP

Relative of the passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 weep as she waits for the latest news on the missing QZ8501 in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. AP

Putranto displayed 10 photos of objects resembling a plane door, emergency slide, and a square box-like object.

"It is not really clear... it could be the wall of the plane or the door of the plane," he said.

"Let's pray that those objects are what we are really trying to find," he said in Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

With no sign of the missing AirAsia jetliner, dozens of ships and planes on Tuesday joined a widening international effort now covering huge swaths of Indonesian sea and land.

A device that can detect underwater signals from the aircraft's black boxes was also on its way, more than two days after Flight 8501 vanished from radar, Associated Press reported.

A Chinese frigate was also on the way, while Singapore said it was sending two underwater beacon detectors to try to detect pings from the plane's all-important cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

9.52 am: US warship USS Sampson joins search for Flight QZ8501

A US warship has joined an expanded search for AirAsia plane QZ8501.

Washington said it was deploying the USS Sampson to join the growing international effort, with the destroyer expected to arrive in the search zone later today.

Australia, Singapore and Malaysia have sent maritime surveillance aircraft and warships to assist in the search, joining Indonesian planes, ships and scores of fishing boats scouring the waters for signs of the ill-fated aircraft.

South Korea said it was sending a P-3 reconnaissance plane that was involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which vanished in March.

8.35 am: Why did the plane fly through Java's 'thunderstorm factory'?

An Australian aviation expert said on Tuesday that human error undoubtedly led to the disappearance of AirAsia flight QZ8501 after the pilots flew directly into a well-known danger zone above the Java Sea.

Expert Neil Hansford said that either the Indonesian captain or the French first officer plotted a dangerous flight plan.

AP

AP

He said veteran pilots avoided the area where the plane is believed to have gone down and would not fly through it. "They call it 'the thunderstorm factory,'" Hansford told the Nine Network, Xinhua reported.

"You plan to go around it. You don't plan to go through it."

He said whoever plotted the flight plan made a fatal error.

"Whoever did the flight plan -- now we don't know whether it was the French first officer or the captain himself," Hansford said. He concluded by emphatically saying it was pilot error.

"I've said all along it was never going to be engineering," Hansford said.

Meanwhile, search for the missing plane resumed Tuesday. The multi-national search operation has now been expanded to a wider area, media reports said.

8.28 am: More ships, planes join hunt for AirAsia flight Qz8501

More planes will be in the air and more ships on the sea on Tuesday hunting for AirAsia Flight QZ8501 in a widening search off Indonesia that has dragged into a third day without any solid leads.

At least 30 ships, 15 aircraft and seven helicopters were looking for the jet carrying 162 people, said Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo. Most of the craft were Indonesian but Singapore, Malaysia and Australia contributed to the effort. Aircraft from Thailand planned to join Tuesday's search.

He said the search area would be expanded to land areas, with four military helicopters dispatched just after sunrise near Pangkalan Bun on the western part of Borneo island and to smaller islands of Bangka and Belitung.

"Until now, we have not yet found any signal or indication of the plane's whereabouts," Soelistyo told The Associated Press, adding fishermen from Belitung island were also helping.

8. 00 am: How can the plane go missing, ask experts

Air travel advocates are demanding global aviation authorities explain how an AirAsia jetliner with 162 people aboard got lost at a time when satellites and webcams monitor society's every move. "It should be impossible for an airliner to go missing" in an age when people can track their phones and cars to within a few feet, said Paul Hudson, president of Flyersrights.org and a member of a US Federal Aviation Authority rulemaking advisory committee.

30 December, 7: 10 am:

Indonesia asks US for help

The hunt for AirAsia flight QZ8501 has begun for a third day, with the search area now expanding far beyond the plane's original flight path.

Countries around the region as well as the US, France and Australia are joining the search over the Java sea.

The US State Department said that Indonesia has asked the United States for help in locating a missing AirAsia jet, and the Pentagon said it could include detection equipment deployed by air, surface and sub-surface.

The jet carrying 162 people is believed to have crashed into Indonesia's Java Sea. The State Department says no Americans were on board. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta received a diplomatic note from Indonesian officials on Monday asking for assistance finding the plane. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke says the U.S. is identifying how best to help.

The Pentagon's press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said in a brief statement that while details are being coordinated, the assistance "could include air, surface and sub-surface detection capabilities."

End of updates for 29 December

10.37 pm: Indonesia to expand search operations

After the search operation for the missing aircraft did not succeed on Monday, the Indonesian authorities have decided to broaden the area of search. The Indonesian government announces that search for missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 with 162 people aboard will expand on Tuesday. "Four additional areas will be searched," the country's national search and rescue agency said, according to a Zee News report.

6.37 pm: Pope Francis prays for passengers of QZ8501

Speaking at his Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis prayed for the passengers who were onboard QZ8501 AirAsia flight which went missing near Indonesia on Sunday.

Pope Francis. AFP

Pope Francis. AFP

According to a report in the Zee News the Pope said, “With affection and prayers, I am close to their family members and those who are living through these difficult situations with apprehension and suffering as well those who are involved in the rescue operations.”

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi likened the disappearance of flights to the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.

5.10 pm: AirAsia's in-flight magazine had claimed its flights 'will never get lost'

Even as the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 continues, reports suggest that the airlines' in-flight magazine had once claimed that it's flights could never get lost.

The Independent quoted the article as saying, "Pilot training in AirAsia is continuous and very thorough. Rest assured that your captain is well prepared to ensure your plane will never get lost."

The report says the article was later pulled out after facing flak and passengers calling it 'distasteful'.

3.50 pm: Object spotted not from AirAsia

Object spotted in sea was not from AirAsia plane, reports AFP. 

An object spotted during a sea search for an AirAsia plane was not from the aircraft, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Monday after reports that an Australian surveillance aircraft had found something.

"It has been checked and no sufficient evidence was found to confirm what was reported," Kalla told a press conference at Surabaya airport from where the ill-fated plane departed.

2.26 pm: Chopper sees two oil spots that could be from Flight QZ8501

An Indonesian helicopter saw two oily spots in the search area for the missing AirAsia jetliner Monday, and an Australian search plane spotted objects hundreds of miles away, but it was too early to know whether either was connected to the aircraft and its 162 passengers and crew.

In any case, officials saw little reason to believe AirAsia Flight 8501 met anything but a grim fate after it disappeared from radar Sunday morning over the Java Sea.

A search and rescue officer points to a co-ordination map of Indonesia at the crisis center set up by local authorities in search of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014. Search planes and ships from several countries on Monday were scouring Indonesian waters over which the AirAsia jet disappeared, more than a day into the region's latest aviation mystery. Flight 8501 vanished Sunday in airspace thick with storm clouds on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. (AP Photo/Trisnadi Marjan)

A search and rescue officer points to a co-ordination map of Indonesia at the crisis center set up by local authorities in search of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Trisnadi Marjan)

"Based on the coordinates that we know, the evaluation would be that any estimated crash position is in the sea, and that the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea," Indonesia search and rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said.

The Airbus A320-200 vanished Sunday morning in airspace thick with storm clouds on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore.

After the search expanded Monday, Jakarta's Air Force base commander Rear Marshal Dwi Putranto said an Australian Orion aircraft had detected "suspicious" objects near Nangka island, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Pangkalan Bun, near central Kalimantan, or 700 miles (1,120 kilometers) from the location where the plane lost contact.

"However, we cannot be sure whether it is part of the missing AirAsia plane," Putranto said. "We are now moving in that direction, which is in cloudy conditions."

Air Force spokesman Rear Marshal Hadi Tjahnanto told MetroTV that an Indonesian helicopter spotted two oily spots in the Java Sea east of Belitung island. Unlike the Australian discovery, the oily spots were within the search area, which stretches 60 kilometers (37 miles) around the point where air-traffic controllers lost contact with the plane.

The last communication from the cockpit to air traffic control was a request by one of the pilots to increase altitude from 32,000 feet (9,754 meters) to 38,000 feet (11,582 meters) because of the rough weather. Air traffic control was not able to immediately grant the request because another plane was in airspace at 34,000 feet, said Bambang Tjahjono, director of the state-owned company in charge of air-traffic control.

By the time clearance could be given, Flight 8501 had disappeared, Tjahjono said. The twin-engine, single-aisle plane, which never sent a distress signal, was last seen on radar four minutes after the last communication from the cockpit.

First Adm. Sigit Setiayana, the Naval Aviation Center commander at the Surabaya air force base, said 12 navy ships, five planes, three helicopters and a number of warships were taking part in the search, along with ships and planes from Singapore and Malaysia. The Australian Air Force also sent a search plane.

Searchers had to cope with heavy rain Sunday, but Setiayana said Monday that visibility was good. "God willing, we can find it soon," he told The Associated Press.

Sunardi, a forecaster at Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said dense storm clouds were detected up to 13,400 meters (44,000 feet) in the area at the time.

"There could have been turbulence, lightning and vertical as well as horizontal strong winds within such clouds," said Sunardi, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

The plane had an Indonesian captain, Iryanto, who uses one name, and a French co-pilot, five cabin crew members and 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant, the airline said in a statement. Among the passengers were three South Koreans, a Malaysian, a British national and his 2-year-old Singaporean daughter. The rest were Indonesians.

1.08 pm: Indonesian official says Australian planes spot objects in sea in AirAsia search area

An Indonesian official says objects have been spotted in the sea by a search plane hunting for the missing AirAsia jet.

Jakarta's Air Force base commander Rear Marshal Dwi Putranto says he was informed Monday that an Australian Orion aircraft had detected suspicious objects near Nangka island, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Pangkalan Bun, near central Kalimantan, or 700 miles (1,120 kilometers) from the location where the plane lost contact.

"However, we cannot be sure whether it is part of the missing AirAsia plane," Putranto says, "We are now moving in that direction, which is in cloudy conditions."

12.03 pm: Search area for flight QZ8501 expanded to waters off Sumatra coast

The search area for flight QZ8501 has been expanded to the entire waters around Bangka-Belitung, off the south coast of Sumatra, says a report in the Guardian.

Officials now seem to be largely operating on the premise that the flight has crashed into the sea.

Meanwhile Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the plight of Flight Qz8501 cannot be equated with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which vanished without a trace in March.

Australia is leading the search for MH370 which was on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared off radars on March 8 with 239 people onboard.

"I think it would be a big mistake to equate what has happened here with MH370," Abbott told Sydney radio station 2GB after budget airline AirAsia said a flight carrying 162 people was missing.

"MH370, as things stand, is one of the great mysteries of our time. It doesn't appear that there's any particular mystery here.

"It's an aircraft that was flying a regular route on a regular schedule, it struck what appears to have been horrific weather, and it's down. But this is not a mystery like the MH370 disappearance and it's not an atrocity like the MH17 shooting down."

11.23 am: China offers to help search for Flight QZ8501

China has offered to send aircraft and ships to help in the international search for a missing AirAsia flight that disappeared off Indonesia over the weekend, the Foreign Ministry said.

"China has already said to Indonesia that it is willing to urgently send planes and ships to participate in search and rescue," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

Beijing "will provide other aid according to Indonesia's needs," the statement added.

Australia, Singapore and Malaysia deployed planes and ships to assist in the search as anguished relatives anxiously waited for news of their loved ones more than a day after flight QZ8501 disappeared.

China said in a statement Sunday it was "deeply concerned about the safety of the people on board" would "like to send a message of solidarity to their family members".

10.40 am: Daughter of Air Asia pilot asks him to come back in moving message on social media

Even as Indonesian search and rescue officials say they believe that flight QZ8501 is at the 'bottom of the sea', a moving message from the daughter of the Air Asia pilot to her father on social media is making the rounds.

According to a report on the Malaysian Insider:

The daughter of Captain Irianto, the pilot of missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 has posted a poignant message on social networking site Path to her father, Indonesian news website kompas.com reported. Identified only as Angela, she uploaded a picture of her father and wrote: "Papa pulang. Kakak masih butuh papa. Kembalikan papaku. Papa pulang pa, papa harus ketemu." (Papa come back. I still need you. Return my papa to me. Papa come back, we have to meet.)" Angela is one of Irianto's two school-going children. His wife is not working.

9.53 am: More trouble for Air Asia? Indonesia to review Airline operations after QZ8501 disappearance

Indonesia's transport minister said Monday the government would review AirAsia's operations in the Southeast Asian country following the disappearance of a plane carrying 162 people.

"We will do a ground check as well as a review of AirAsia's operations in Indonesia to ensure that all of its activities are better in the future," Ignasius Jonan told reporters.

AirAsia, which has never suffered a fatal accident, said the missing jet last underwent maintenance on 16 November.

AFP

AFP

8.43 am: Indonesian authorities confirm crash, says the flight could be 'at the bottom of the sea'

The AirAsia plane which went missing with 162 people on board en route for Singapore is likely at the bottom of the sea, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief said Monday.

"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," Bambang Soelistyo told a press conference. "That's the preliminary suspicion and it can develop based on the evaluation of the result of our search."

Soelistyo said Indonesia did not have "the tools", such as submersible vehicles, required to retrieve the plane from the seabed, but that it is reaching out to other countries for help if necessary.

The official also "Due to the lack of technology that we have, I have coordinated with our foreign minister so we will borrow from other countries which have offered. They are the UK, France and US," he said.

(AFP)

8.00 am: Cyber criminals use tragedy to spread malware 

In a trend that was kicked off by the disappearance of MH370, a flight from Malaysian Airlines, cyber crooks have latched on to the recent tragedy to acquire personal information of internet users and spread malware.

According to The Hacker News, cyber criminals are working over time and luring internet users to sites that aid phishing by promising the latest information on QZ8501.

The Hacker News reports: "Our team has spotted some posts on social media claiming that the “Missing AirAsia flight QZ850 has been found and that all its passengers are safe and alive”. But once the user click on the news, the link redirects users to the malicious websites."

7.43 am: AirAsia shares plunge after QZ8501 goes missing

Hours after AirAsia's QZ8501 disappeared and remained untraceable, the company's shares plunged by 11.6 percent today morning. The plane has been missing for over a day now and hopes of finding survivors are depleting fast, given that the aircraft had enough fuel to only fly 4.5 hours.

The Strait Times reports: "Shares of the Malaysia-based budget airline fell at the start of trade on Monday, after Indonesia resumed its search for the missing jetliner QZ8501 at first light on Monday. AirAsia fell as much as 12.9 per cent to RM2.56 at 0102 GMT, its lowest point since Nov. 28. The stock has gained 21.4 per cent since the beginning of the year."

Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO of AirAsia Indonesia said about the missing aircraft yesterday, “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this incident. We are cooperating with the relevant authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident. In the meantime, our main priority is keeping the families of our passengers and colleagues informed on the latest developments.”

“We will do everything possible to support them as the investigation continues and have already mobilized a support team to help take care of their immediate needs, including accommodation and travel arrangements. A briefing center has also been set up in Surabaya for the families," he added in a statement.

7.30 am: Search operations resumed for missing QZ8501, Australia joins search 

After search operations were suspended due to bad weather and darkness at around 5.30 pm Singapore national time, they were resumed today again. The Australian air force and navy joined the search ops.

ABC News reported that that Australian Defence Force has deployed a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft to help in the search operations. ABC quoted Australian air chief Marshal Binskin as saying, "The RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft has a well proven capability in search and rescue and carries maritime search radar coupled with infra-red and electro-optical sensors to support the visual observation capabilities provided by its highly trained crew members."

"The flight was piloted by Captain Iriyanto, who had a total of 20,537 flying hours, according to a statement from AirAsia. More than 6,000 of Iriyanto's flying hours were on an Airbus A320. The first officer, Remi Emmanuel Plesel, had 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia, according to the airline," ABC reported.

End of updates from 28 December

4.26 pm: AirAsia plane crash reports not true: Malaysia

Malaysia's Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai dismissed claims that wreckage of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 was found, an IANS report quoted Malaysian agencies as saying on Sunday.

"I urge people to maintain calm and not listen to unverified news reports," The Star Online quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, AFP quoted Indonesian officials who said the search for the missing AirAsia flight has been halted for the day.

A report in the Reuters said, Indonesia called off until first light a search for an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board that went missing on Sunday after pilots asked to change course to avoid bad weather during a flight from Indonesia's Surabaya city to Singapore.

A Changi Airport staff holds up a sign to direct possible next-of-kins of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ 8501 from Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, at Changi Airport in Singapore. Reuters

A Changi Airport staff holds up a sign to direct possible next-of-kins of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ 8501 from Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, at Changi Airport in Singapore. Reuters

Unconfirmed reports emerged that the wreckage, allegedly of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, has been found in the waters off East Belitung.

"There are plenty of speculations that they have found the plane. At this point of time, it is not true. We are still looking for the plane," he said.

Indian Navy has kept three ships and one fixed-wing aircraft (Boeing P8-1) on standby to assist the search and rescue operations, according to Zee News.

1.50 pm: Twitterati reacts to news of disappearance of QZ8501 with shock

Twitter woke up to the dreadful news of QZ8501 disappearing and expressed their shock at the failure of advanced technology. Most expressed solidarity with the families of the passengers who have gone missing with the plane and also wondered if the South East Asian aviation industry is going through a serious problem. They cited the disappearance of MH370 and MH17 from the Malaysian Airlines stable.

1.44 pm: AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes headed to Surabaya

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said that he is headed to Surabaya, the Indonesian city from where QZ8501 had taken off. Fernandes, who changed his display picture on Twitter to a grey AirAsia logo in solidarity with the families of the missing passengers, said that he will keep updating Twitter with information about the search operations.

12. 21 pm: Meanwhile, fears that QZ8501 might have crashed off an Indonesian island gather steam

Though there is no official word on it, local media seems to be reporting that the missing flight has actually crashed off Belitung Islands. Sputnik News reports that a local newspaper Republika has said that the flight has crashed into the Indian Ocean. Sputnik News states:

"AirAsia Airbus A320, flight QZ 8501, flying from Surabaya [Indonesia] to Singapore fell into water near Belitung island [Indonesia]," Republika newspaper quoted the agency's representative as saying.

Strengthening the fears were Indonesian officials who said that there is no way the flight could still be flying as it had fuel that could sustain a 4.5 hour flight. QZ8501 has been missing for almost six hours now.

 

Chinese agency CCTV news also reports that Malaysian PM has said that though there is no confirmed news of the same, he fears that a 'big tragedy' might have occurred. Razak said, "I don't have much details yet, but big possibility that a tragedy has occurred."

However, no distress signal was sent from the missing flight. According to latest reports, six ships and two helicopters have been deployed in the area where QZ8501 was last spotted.

11.54 am: Was AirAsia pilot headed for a disaster with altitude change?

The air traffic control and AirAsia have said that the pilot of the missing flight QZ8501 had asked for an increase in altitude of the flight as the plane seemed to have run into some bad weather and wanted to avoid the clouds. The flight went missing shortly after that.

Aviation expert Gerry Soejatman tweeted out a 'leaked' picture of the ATC screen on QZ8501. He seemed to be suggesting that the altitude of the plane and the ground speed of the aircraft didn't seem to be fine.

However, though the 'leaked' picture has raised doubts about the expertise of the flight's pilot Air Asia has released a statement saying the the pilot manning the aircraft suitably experienced. The flight commander had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours as experience.

The airline also confirmed the following: "There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew."

11.50 am: Singapore PM consoles families of missing passengers

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong tweeted saying that his thoughts are with the families of the passengers of QZ8501.

At a press conference, transport ministry officials told that the pilot had asked for a change in altitude as it had run into bad weather and wanted to avoid clouds. The transport official also said that the flight went missing between Tanjung Pandan and Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

10.55 am: Singapore presses Air Force, Navy into action to look for missing Air Asia flight

Singapore said on Sunday it has activated its air force and navy to help in the search and rescue operation for the AirAsia jet that went missing on a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore.

"Two C130s are already on stand-by for this purpose. We remain ready to provide any assistance to support the search and rescue effort," the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement.

A waiting area, and facilities and support have been set up for relatives at Changi Airport Terminal 2, it said.

(Reuters)

10.43 am: Local Indonesian media reports that the remains of a crashed plane has been found off Belitung Islands

Florian Witulski (@vaitor on Twitter) who is covering the incident, reports that the local media has said that the remains of a crashed aircraft has been found off Belitung Islands, from where QZ8501 went missing.

However, the local media reports cannot confirm if the crashed aircraft is the missing flight.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has launched a massive search operation with two planes searching for the missing flight.

10.33 am: AirAsia uploads black cover photo on Facebook

With no news coming in on the flight hours after it disappeared from the Indonesia air space, AirAsia has updated the cover photo of its Facebook page to a strip of black. Also, a new company logo has been uploaded as the display picture on the page - it is a grey version of the company's red logo.

10.15 am: 149 Indonesians on missing flight

The passengers on the missing AirAsia flight are mostly Indonesian, local media reports suggested. The flight comprised 149 Indonesians, 3 Koreans, 1 Singaporean, 1 Briton, 1 Malaysian.

9.53 am: Thunderstorms reported around Surabaya, from where the flight took off

Reports suggest that violent thunderstorms have been detected around Surabaya, the Indonesian city from which the flight had taken off. Florian Witulski, a journalist covering the incident, said that the Indonesian officials are facing difficulties in carrying on the search operations because of the bad weather conditions in the area.

QZ8501 reportedly lost contact near the Belitung Islands.

9.30 am: AirAsia confirms on Facebook page that they have no news of the flight yet

AirAsia confirmed on its Facebook page that they have lost all contact with the flight. They said, " AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24hrs this morning. At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available. 

An AirAsia flight. AFP.

An AirAsia flight. AFP.

"The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service."

The airline also gave out a emergency helpline number (+622129850801) for the kin of the passengers of the missing flight.

9.15 am: AirAsia flight loses contact with air traffic control

An AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday, Indonesian media said, citing a Transport Ministry official.

Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa said the aircraft, flight number QZ 8501, lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6:17 a.m local time. (2317 GMT).

The flight was supposed to reach Singapore at at 8:30 a.m. Singapore time (0030 GMT).

He said the plane had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact.


Published Date: Jan 12, 2015 11:40 am | Updated Date: Jan 12, 2015 11:49 am


Also See