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A plane of AirAsia at Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta, Indonesia.(IANS)

Widened Effort: Hunt for Missing AirAsia Continues with Dozens of Planes, Ships

The hunt for the missing AirAsia flight still continues in the Java Sea with expanded search operations on Tuesday. More countries have offered planes and ships for the hunt on Monday.

Head of the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency, Bambang Sulistyo reportedly said that during the third day of the aerial hunt, about 30 ships, 15 fixed-wing aircraft and seven helicopters from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia had been scouring the missing flight QZ8501 in some 10,000 square nautical miles.

According to him, the search would be expanded to land areas with helicopters beginning to comb land on Kalimantan as well as islands in the area. So far, the search has been focused on the Java Sea between the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

The AirAsia QZ8501 Flight from Indonesia to Singapore, which has disappeared with 162 passengers onboard on Sunday, was considered to be crashed and was expected to be at the bottom of the sea.

On Monday, while China has extended its support in the search assuring that it would send a warship and an air force jet to search the missing AirAsia plane, South Korea sent a surveillance plane to join the Indonesia-led search operation.

Meanwhile, Thailand has also said it would provide an aircraft to join the hunt on Tuesday.

As per a report from IANS, though no significant clues or wreckage were found over the past two days, the Indonesian authorities said on Monday that they would check an oil slick spotted some 100 nautical miles (185 km) off the east coast of Belitung island.

“We haven’t been able to confirm, however, whether it was the fuel of the AirAsia aircraft,” an air force spokesman Hadi Tjahnanto said.

On Monday, the search operation was assisted by seven ships and two helicopters. In order to help in the search, Singapore had sent two naval vessels and Malaysia has said it would send three naval vessels and a C-130. As per reports, the Australian Defence Department said that an Australian P3 Orion surveillance plane has also left Darwin to join the search.

Out of 162 on board, 155 were passengers and seven crew members, in which most of them are said to be Indonesians. During crash, the plane was reportedly at 32,000 feet over Java Sea in Indonesian territory.

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