HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented to send a message of condolence to Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, after AirAsia flight QZ8501 went missing in Indonesia on Sunday morning.
The message stated that His Majesty expressed his deep sadness at hearing the news of the missing flight. His Majesty and His Majesty’s government and the people of Brunei Darussalam prayed to Allah the Almighty that efforts to locate the missing aircraft and its passengers would be successful.
His Majesty said that he hoped that the Indonesian President and all the people of Indonesia, particularly the families of the victims involved, would be able to face the tragedy with patience and fortitude.
Meanwhile, searchers scoured land and sea Monday for the missing plane which had 162 people on board, dpa reported yesterday.
The AirAsia Indonesia flight disappeared from radar over the Java Sea after taking off from Surabaya in East Java en route to Singapore on Sunday morning.
“Our suspicion for now is that the plane is at the bottom of the sea based on the last coordinates of the plane detected by the radar,” Indonesia’s National Search Agency chief Bambang Sulistyo said.
“If it is at the bottom of the sea, we will have difficulty locating it because our equipment is not adequate,” he said referring to specialised sonar technology to detect objects lying on the sea floor.
Searchers using aircraft spotted an oil slick 105 nautical miles off Belitung island but its source was not clear, Air Force spokesman Hadi Tjahjanto said.
“We’re checking whether it’s jet fuel or fuel from a ship,” Tjahjanto said.
He said an Australian plane taking part in the search had detected a weak signal but nothing had been found.
Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla there was no time limit for the search.
“What is important is we find the plane and its passengers,” Kalla said in a televised press conference after meeting the families of the passengers in Surabaya.
But he warned people to prepare for “the worst”.
Search chief Bambang said Indonesia might need help from countries such as France, Britain and the United States to provide a specialised vessel to lift any wreckage of the aircraft.
Bambang said the search area had been expanded to include Bangka-Belitung Islands and the western part of West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo.
Dozens of ships, boats and aircraft were involved in the operation, he said.
Singapore and Malaysia each deployed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and three ships, while Australia contributed two Orion planes.
Indonesia’s National Transport Safety Committee chief Tatang Kurniadi said investigators from aircraft maker Airbus had arrived in Indonesia to help with the probe.
The European Aviation Safety Agency had also offered to assist, he said.