Australia offers help to find missing AirAsia flight

Adelaide, Dec 28 (IANS) Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop offered to help Indonesia in the search and rescue mission for the Malaysian plane missing since early morning.

Bishop said she made “personal contact” with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi since the AirAsia flight QZ 8501 vanished between Indonesia and its destination Singapore, the Canberra Times reported.
“I have expressed our deep concerns for the passengers and crew on board that flight and our thoughts and prayers are with their families,” she told reporters here.
“It is always deeply concerning when you hear news such as this… we hope and pray that there will be survivors,” she said.
The AirAsia flight with 162 people on board disappeared early Sunday morning amid thunderstorms while flying from Indonesia to Singapore, prompting a major search operation.
The plane lost contact with the air traffic control somewhere between Kalimantan and Belitung island, an Indonesian transport ministry official said.
Bishop said she was seeking the flight manifest to check there were no dual Australian citizens or permanent residents on the flight.
“We’ve made an offer to assist the Indonesian government specifically and we’re waiting to hear from them should they need that, but I understand the search operation is under way,” she said.