It’s turning out to be a bleak year for Malaysia-affiliated airlines as an AirAsia jet carrying 162 people disappeared after its pilot did not get permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather during a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore on December 28.
Indonesian officials say the plane, an Airbus A320-200, could be at the bottom of the sea.
As the mystery continues to thicken over the missing plane, a multi-national search and rescue operation has intensified to locate the ill-fated jet.
China, among other nations, has offered to send aircraft and ships to help in the search operation. “China has already said to Indonesia that it is willing to urgently send planes and ships to participate in search and rescue,” China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website. Beijing “will provide other aid according to Indonesia’s needs,” the statement added.
Australia, Singapore and Malaysia have already deployed planes and ships to join the search operation.
The agony for the relatives of passengers of Flight QZ8501 has deepened with hope dimming of any possibility of survival.
This is the third such disastrous incident involving Malaysia-affiliated airlines. Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia owns 49 per cent stake in Indonesia AirAsia.
On March 8, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 went missing on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew. On July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
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