The missing AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 is likely to be at the bottom of the sea, the head of Indonesia’s search-and-rescue agency has said. Bambang Soelistyo said the hypothesis was based on the co-ordinates of the plane when contact with it was lost. The search for the Airbus A320-200, which disappeared with 162 people on board on Sunday on a flight to Singapore, has ended for a second day. The search area will be widened on Tuesday. The pilots had requested a course change because of bad weather but did not send any distress call before the plane disappeared from radar screens. Based on the co-ordinates 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, the head of Indonesia’s search-and-rescue agency, told a news conference in Jakarta.
Announcing the end of the days searching, Mr Soelistyo said that on Tuesday, the search area would be widened to cover West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, and the southern parts of the waters off the coast of Belitung island. Weather conditions on Monday were very good, he said, but helicopters involved in the search lacked the visual equipment for searching at night. The search would continue to focus on oil slicks seen on Monday, Mr Soelistyo added, though it is not clear wether they were caused by the plane. Indonesia Vice President Jusuf Kalla said earlier that 30 ships and 15 aircraft were taking part in the search, and that any ships in the area and “even fishermen” were being asked to join in.