SAR team to comb Long Island waters for missing QZ8501

EAST BELITUNG, Bangka Belitung: The Search and Rescue (SAR) Team of Bangka Belitung Province is focusing its search for the missing AirAsia QZ8501 aircraft at Long Island, 50 miles off Manggar Port, East Belitung District, Bangka Belitung province, the Indoneisan news agency ANTARA News reported today.

“On the third day, we will be focusing on three locations, which are Long Island, Karang Barat, and Karang Tiung, which cover 280 miles of search area,” Commander of Navy Post of Manggar Second Lieutenant Purwanto stated here in Manggar, East Belitung District, on Tuesday.

Three ships will be deployed to carry out the search operation, with each being manned by 15 to 20 personnel.

AirAsia’s Airbus A320-200, carrying 162 people, has been missing since Sunday morning after losing contact with air traffic control on its way from Surabaya, East Java, to Singapore. Flight QZ8501 lost contact after the pilot sought permission for an altitude change from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet due to inclement weather over the sea area between Bangka Belitung and West Kalimantan.