AirAsia’s ill-fated Flight QZ8501 carrying 155 passengers and 7 crew members was traveling to Singapore from Surabaya when it suddenly disappeared from the radar. Search and rescue efforts almost immediately kicked in and a multi-national search scoured the seas for any signs of debris or survivors. On the third day of the SAR/SAL operations, debris and bodies were found in the Karimata Strait around 110 nautical miles south west from Pangkalan Bun.

The Indonesian authorities later confirmed that they were indeed from the plane.

AirAsia has since released a statement regarding the find:

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AirAsia Bhd Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, who also present at the Surabaya Crisis Centre, said at a news conference, “It is the worst feeling, one could have, but we stay strong for the families out there, so that we can look after them.”

Watch the video here:

Today, we enter day 4 of the search operations. Yesterday, Air Chief Marshal FH Bambang Soelistyo of BASARNAS, Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency told a press conference that an air force plane spotted a “shadow” on the seabed believed to be the missing AirAsia jet. “At 12:50 the air force Hercules found an object described as a shadow at the bottom of the sea in the form of a plane,” he said.

As such, the SAR/SAL teams are out there to locate the plane wreckage as well as to retrieve more debris and bodies. A 24-hour rescue operation has since been launched.

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UPDATE (1pm, 31st Dec):

According tothe Wall Street Journal, Indonesia’s search-and-rescue agency has obtained a sonar image that it says may be the body of the missing AirAsia jet on the floor of the Java Sea. The agency said the image appears to show an airplane upside down on the ocean floor in 24 meters to 30 meters of water. The image was obtained Tuesday by an Indonesian Navy ship that is part of the search-and-recovery effort, the agency said in a release early Wednesday morning.

Our deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers go out to all who are effected by this tragedy.

AirAsia QZ8501

For those who are seeking information about relatives or friends who may have been on board AirAsia’s Flight QZ8501, AirAsia has set established an Emergency Call Centre. The number is+622129270811 or 031-8690855 or 031-2986790 (Surabaya).

AirAsia’s Facebook page also offers timely updates on the SAR/SAL operations. Go here

Sources: CNA (1), CNA (2), WSJ.

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Lainey
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