Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Barsanas) has reportedly said that the missing Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320 is likely to have crashed into the Java Sea.
The agency’s chief Bambang Soelistyo told reporters at a Jakarta press conference that based on the coordinates it has, it is working on the assumption that the aircraft has crashed into the sea, and could be lying on the seafloor.
Barsanas' search is focused on waters east of Pulau Belitung, an island in the Java Sea.
The agency has said that the initial search area of 120 by 240nm will be divided into four sectors. The first stage of the search will cover one week, at which point it will be decided if the search area is to be changed or extended.
Flight QZ8501 disappeared on the morning of 28 December, after its pilots asked to ascend from 32,000ft to 38,000ft to avoid stormy weather while enroute from Surabaya to Singapore. No distress signal was received from the aircraft. There were 155 passengers and seven crew members onboard the 2008-built A320.
There have been few updates from Indonesia AirAsia. The latest statement says Barsanas continued search operations at 06:00 local time with help from Singapore and Malaysia, and that support is being given to families of those on the missing aircraft.