Missing AirAsia flight likely ‘at the bottom of the sea,’ official says


The AirAsia passenger jet that disappeared with 162 people on board during a flight from Indonesia to Singapore Sunday is believed to have crashed and “is at the bottom of the sea,” the head of the rescue effort told reporters Monday.

RELATED: What we know about the missing AirAsia flight

“Based on the coordinates that we know, the evaluation would be that any estimated crash position is in the sea, and that the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea,” National Search and Rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo told a news conference, according to The Associated Press.

Navy ships, helicopters and aircraft fanned out to scour parts of the Java Sea Monday for any sign of AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501, which lost contact with air traffic controllers in Indonesia Sunday morning after the pilot requested a course change due to bad weather, officials have said.

There are 155 passengers as well as two pilots and five crew members on board. Most of the passengers are Indonesian. Three people on board are from South Korea, and one person each is from Singapore, Malaysia, Britain and France. Seventeen passengers are children, and one is an infant, the airline said.

Indonesian authorities called off the aerial search for AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 on Sunday night local time (Sunday morning ET) when the sun went down, but ships continued looking in the Java Sea for the Airbus A320-200, which was travelling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore when it went missing.

Relatives of many of the passengers were flocking to the Singapore Changi Airport, where the missing plane was supposed to arrive, for updates. The airport said in a statement that a briefing room for the families had been set up and accommodations were being provided.

The plane was supposed to arrive at Changi at 8:30 a.m. Singapore time (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday), but lost contact with air traffic control at 7:24 a.m., halfway through the flight. Indonesia’s acting director general of transportation, Djoko Murjatmodjo, said there had been no distress signal from the cockpit of the Airbus A320-200, but a minute before contact was lost, the pilot asked to change the flight path due to weather.

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.comMaterial from The Associated Press was used in this report.



Missing AirAsia flight likely 'at the bottom of the sea,' official says