UPDATED: AirAsia Flight 8501 Wreckage Found
UPDATE 11:01 AM EST, DECEMBER 30, 2014: Wreckage from AirAsia flight 8501 has been found in the Java Sea roughly six miles from the flight's last known location. Two bodies were also recovered from the scene.
"To the relatives, I feel your loss, and all of us pray that all of the families are given the strength and fortitude during this incident," Indonesian President Joko Widodo told journalists.
"We are sorry to be here today under these tragic circumstances," said Sunu Widyatmoko, head of AirAsia Indonesia. "We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those on board QZ8501. Our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues."
"My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501," AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted. "On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am."
The debris was discovered when a military aircraft crew member saw a shadow of an object in the water that appeared to be an aircraft.
Focus now will turn from Search & Rescue to the recovery of the aircraft and the remains of those lost.
UPDATE 11:48 PM EST, DECEMBER 27, 2014: Local media reports that a plane has crashed east of Belitung Island, Indonesia, but it is not confirmed to be the missing airliner.
UPDATE 11:41 PM EST, DECEMBER 27, 2014: FlightRadar24 has tweeted that QZ8501 may have flown out of their radar coverage prior to disappearing, where low-altitude coverage is spotty.
This may explain the loss of radar contact on FlightRadar24 at 32,000 ft.
UPDATE 11:32 PM EST, DECEMBER 27, 2014: The following statement was released by the CAAS (Singapore's equivalent of the FAA):
28 December 2014, 11:30am Local Time:- An Indonesia AirAsia aircraft, QZ8501, scheduled to arrive at 0830 hours local time from Surabaya, lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 0724 hours local time today. Singapore air traffic control was informed of this loss of contact at 0754 hours by Jakarta air traffic control. The aircraft was in the Indonesian Flight Information Region (FIR) when contact was lost, more than 200 nm southeast of the Singapore-Jakarta FIR boundary.
Search and rescue operations have been activated by the Indonesian authorities from the Pangkal Pinang Search and Rescue office.
The Singapore Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and supported by various agencies, including the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), has also been activated and has offered help to the Indonesian authorities. Two C130s are already on stand-by for this purpose. We remain ready to provide any assistance to support the search and rescue effort.
The CAAS and Changi Airport Group (CAG) Crisis Management Centres have already been activated. We are working with the airline’s crisis management team.