The search for a missing AirAsia jet that vanished in storm clouds over Indonesia appeared closer to a breakthrough Tuesday, as Indonesian officials said airplane debris had been found in waters near the island of Borneo, and the head of the search effort said he was “95%” certain that it was from the missing plane.
Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia’s search-and-rescue efforts, told reporters that a shadow underwater near where the debris was found looked like an aircraft. He said 21 divers would be deployed to the area. He also said that what appeared to be a body was floating near the debris.
Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia’s acting director general for civil aviation, said the debris pieces were from a plane, though he couldn’t confirm that it was from the missing AirAsia AIRASIA, +1.86% jet that lost contact with air-traffic controllers en route to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, on Sunday morning, carrying 162 passengers and crew, but said three clusters of scattered debris were red and white, the colors of the AirAsia plane.
He said the debris was scattered in three locations about 100 miles southwest of Pangkalan Bun, a city on the island of Borneo.
Earlier, Indonesia’s search and rescue agency released images of debris found in the area, but declined to say whether it could be from an airplane.
More than 20 aircraft have joined in the ramped-up search, including 16 from Indonesia, two from Singapore, two from Australia and one from Malaysia, said Indonesian Air Vice Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi.
One of the most pressing questions for searchers and investigators had been why signals from multiple emergency beacons on the aircraft haven’t been detected. The beacons, known as emergency locator transmitters, or ELTs, are designed to emit signals to satellites upon crashing and last about 30 days.
Source : marketwatch