SINGAPORE – The search and locate (SAL) operation for a missing AirAsia Indonesia flight entered its second day Monday with closest neighbours Malaysia and Singapore offering immediate assistance.
The operation was halted Sunday evening due to darkness and bad weather.
Flight QZ8501, with 162 people on board, had taken off at 5.20 am from Surabaya, Indonesia, and was scheduled to land at Singapore’s Changi Airport at 8.30 am. It last contacted the Air Traffic Control at 6.12 am Indonesian time (7.12 am Malaysian time).
Singapore has deployed two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) C-130 aircraft and several Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) vessels for the SAL operation.
Singapore Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing said it was not the first time that Singapore and Indonesia were working together and the close relationship that both countries shared would facilitate the operation.
“I believe that with the strong relationship that Indonesia and Singapore have built up over many years, which transcends all levels from the highest political level to the military commanders, we will be able to work closely and execute the search and locate operation effectively,” he said.
Meanwhile, three Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) ships were deployed on Sunday night to join the search for the missing aircraft.
Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein was reported as saying that they were the KD Pahang, KD Lekir and KD Lekiu, with a Fennec helicopter on board.
He said he had spoken to Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu and added that Malaysia was ready to be of service if needed by the Indonesian government in the spirit of Asean solidarity.
Those on board the missing flight comprise 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, a Singaporean, a Malaysian, a Briton and a French. – BERNAMA