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Thailand offers search and rescue assistance for missing AirAsia plane

Samui Times Editor



Thailand offers search and rescue assistance for missing AirAsia plane | Samui Times
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Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation is offering assistance to Indonesia to send aircraft and ships to join in the search for the AirAsia plane which went missing Sunday with 162 passengers on a flight from Indonesia to Singapore.

air asia planeAs Indonesia is now leading the search and rescue operation, the department has offered help to Indonesian civil aviation to join the search, said a senior official of the department Monday.

The department is now in coordination with the Royal Thai Air Force and Royal Thai Navy to stand by their aircraft and ships to join the search today.

Meanwhile Indonesia resumed the search Monday morning after the jet disappeared more than 24 hours ago on a flight from Indonesia to Singapore.

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

Setiaya said visibility was good. “God willing, we can find it soon,” he told AFP today.

AirAsia Flight QZ8501 vanished in airspace thick with storm clouds on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. Searchers had to fight against heavy rain on Sunday before work was suspended due to darkness.

The plane’s disappearance and suspected crash caps an astonishingly tragic year for air travel in Southeast Asia. The Malaysia-based carrier’s loss comes on top of the still-unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July over Ukraine.

AirAsia’s Airbus A320 took off Sunday morning from Indonesia’s second-largest city and was about halfway to Singapore when it vanished from radar.

The jet had been airborne for about 42 minutes.

There was no distress signal from the twin-engine, single-aisle plane, said Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia’s acting director general of transportation.

The last communication between the cockpit and air traffic control was at 6:13 a.m. (23:13 GMT Saturday), when one of the pilots “asked to avoid clouds by turning left and going higher to 34,000 feet (10,360 meters).

The jet was last seen on radar at 6:16 a.m. and was gone a minute later.

Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia launched a search-and-rescue operation near Belitung island in the Java Sea, the area where the airliner lost contact with the ground.

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