Southeast Asia was mourning its third airline catastrophe of the year Sunday after an AirAsia jet with 162 people aboard vanished in violent weather and was believed to be at the bottom of an Indonesian sea.
The fate of Flight 8501 remained a mystery almost a full day after it vanished.
But at news conference today, Indonesian National Search and Rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said, “Based on the coordinates that we know, the evaluation would be that any estimated crash position is in the sea, and that the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea.”
The Airbus A320 was bound for Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, when it lost contact with air-traffic control Sunday at about 7:24a.m. Singapore time (6:24p.m. ET on Saturday), the airline said.
“We have no idea at the moment what went wrong,” said Tony Fernandes, CEO of the regional, low-cost carrier. “Let’s not speculate at the moment.”
The tragedy marks the third commercial air disaster involving airlines in the region this year. Mystery still shrouds Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March8 without a trace en route to Beijing with 239 people aboard.