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Search Resumes for AirAsia Jet

Plane vanished in shallow Java Sea waters, officials say
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2014 5:40 PM CST

(Newser) – As Indonesia resumes its search for AirAsia Indonesia Flight 8501—which vanished today along with 162 passengers on a flight from Indonesia to Singapore—the press is reporting on various angles. Among them:

  • Indonesia's military is sending six ships, two helicopters, and two Hercules aircraft to search a swath of the Java Sea, the Guardian reports. Singapore and Malaysia are both contributing naval vessels, and other nations, including the US and Britain, have offered to help, reports Reuters.
  • The plane disappeared between the islands of Borneo and Belitung, a busy shipping channel where waters are apparently shallow. "We are not talking about the deep Indian Ocean here," says a CNN correspondent. But an Indonesian police official says that "there are ferocious sea currents and westerly winds."
  • "It is way too early" to say what happened, the AP reports. Flight 8501 was flying at cruising elevation, which is usually safe—but weather has downed cruising-elevation flights before, including Air France Flight 447 in 2009. (Flight 8501's pilots did request permission to deviate for weather right before the vanishing.) Other options include catastrophic metal fatigue and terrorism.
  • This is "sort of" the third Malaysian jet to crash in 2014, the AP says. Flight MH370 went down with 239 people on board in March; Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine. Flight 8501 is run by AirAsia Indonesia, which is 49% owned by Malaysia Airlines. The AP racks it up to bad luck for the Malaysian company.
  • AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes says he's "devastated" by the crash and calls it his "worst nightmare," the BBC reports. Fernandes and other Indonesian officials are keeping distraught relatives up to date at a "makeshift crisis center" at Surabaya's airport, says Reuters.

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Click to read more about Flight 8501's disappearance. (Read more plane crash stories.)

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