Written by Staff Writer
30 Dec, 2014 | 12:42 pm
The multinational search for the plane has entered a third day, with the operation area now widened to cover 13 zones over land and sea. The Airbus A320-200, carrying 162 people from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore, disappeared on Sunday.
The pilot’s last contact was a request to divert around bad weather. Indonesian officials say air traffic control had approved one request, to veer left, then gave clearance to a second request for permission to climb two to three minutes later.
No reply was received and the plane then disappeared from radar. No trace has yet been found. Countries around the region as well as the US, France and Australia have joined the search over the Java sea.
On Tuesday, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue officials in Banka Belitung province told the BBC they were deploying teams to investigate reports of “billowing smoke” on Long Island, just south of Belitung island, inside the search zone.
Andriandi said the smoke was spotted on Monday by a Chinese television crew, about 29 miles from Manggar in East Belitung. “There is a possibility that it might be from the missing AirAsia plane but we are still doing further verification,” he said.
Experts have cautioned the smoke could be unrelated to the plane. Reports of a possible oil slick spotted in the seas off Belitung island on Monday turned out to be reefs just below the surface.
Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia’s search-and-rescue agency, also said on Tuesday that officials would be speaking to two fishermen who had reported hearing a loud bang on Sunday.
But he said no signal had been detected from the plane yet. On Monday, he had said he suspected the aircraft was at the bottom of the sea.
Source : BBC
Image courtesy of The Guardian
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