Jakarta, Dec 30 (IANS) The search for AirAsia plane QZ8501, which went missing Sunday, expanded Tuesday and smoke and debris have been spotted in Java Sea.
The Airbus A320-200 with 162 on board, disappeared from the radar screen, 42 minutes after it took off from Surabaya in Indonesia’s East Java province.
Objects resembling an emergency slide and plane door have been spotted during an aerial search east of where the aircraft was last detected, The Straits Times reported.
“We spotted around 10 big objects and many more small white-coloured objects,” an air force official said.
The objects were found around 190 km away from Pangkalan Bun of Central Kalimatan on the Borneo island, he said.
“A search team has been sent to the scene to verify the latest findings,” the official added.
Earlier in the day, smoke was also spotted in Long island, one of the thousands that make up the Indonesian archipelago, Xinhua reported.
The latest developments came as Indonesian authorities expanded search operation of the missing plane.
The search has expanded to land areas, with helicopters beginning the search in Kalimantan island as well as other islands in the region.
The number of areas to be scoured has increased to 13 from seven, covering some 60,000 square nautical miles, he said.
The countries offering support in the multinational search besides Indonesia and Singapore comprise US, Australia and Malaysia. South Korea has also offered assistance.