Oil, Objects Tested in Search for Missing AirAsia Jet – ABC News

Posted: Monday, December 29, 2014
PHOTO: This photograph from April 2014 shows Indonesia AirAsia’s Airbus A320-200 PK-AXC in the air near Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport.

Objects and a pool of oil spotted by search crews are being tested to see if they are connected to the missing AirAsia jetliner, the head of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency said.

Bambang Soelistyl, speaking at a press conference after the Day 2 search was suspended, said he can’t confirm that the objects or oil are from the plane. Test results will be shared Tuesday, he said.

Other objects reportedly spotted by an Australian search team were not connected to the plane, he said.

PHOTO: Relatives of the passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 comfort each other at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Dec. 28, 2014.

The developments comes as authorities expanded the search area for the missing jet, with 13 ships and 15 planes and helicopters operating in the search area. Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, Malaysia, Singapore, the Indonesian Navy and the Australian Defence Force are contributing to the search efforts.

The situation remains a search and rescue operation, Indonesia vice president Jusuf Kalla said at a press conference.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes also spoke at the press conference, reflecting on speculation surrounding the plane’s disappearance.

“We really can’t speculate. We don’t really want to speculate until we find the aircraft, we know what went wrong then we’ll look into it and see what we need to improve, if we need to improve. But it’s speculation at the moment so it’s premature to talk at the moment,” Fernandes said.

PHOTO: Members of Indonesias Marine Police pray on board a search and rescue ship before a search operation for the missing AirAsia flight 8501, at Pangkal Pinang port in Sumatra Island, Dec. 29, 2014 in Indonesia.

Soelistyo, speaking at an earlier press conference Monday, stated that “We currently suspect that plane is located on the ocean floor.” If the plane is found on the ocean floor, there would be a challenge in getting the plane to the surface because they do not have the “submersible” equipment, Soelistyo said.

The plane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter should function automatically and send warning signals, but no signal has been detected by control centers in Indonesia or in neighboring countries, Soelistyo said.

Soelistyo confirmed that Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency is spearheading the search effort.

PHOTO: Indonesias Marine Police head out to sea in search for the missing AirAsia flight 8501, at Pangkal Pinang port in Sumatra Island, Dec. 29, 2014 in Indonesia.

The AirAsia jet lost contact with air traffic control over the Java Sea during a flight to Singapore Sunday morning, shortly after the pilots requested a change of flight plan because of weather.

Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control in Jakarta at 6:17 a.m. Sunday local time near Belitung Island, Indonesia, after the flight left Surabaya, Indonesian Air Transport Director Djoko Murjatmodjo said during a news conference Sunday.

The flight had at least 162 people on board.

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