Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has told Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi that Vietnam is willing to join the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 that lost contact with the air traffic control on Sunday morning.
The Vietnamese official, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the statement over a phone talk with the Indonesian FM on Sunday afternoon.
The Vietnamese Government and people shared the deep concern with the families of passengers on the flight, which lost contact with the ground 42 minutes after leaving the Surabaya airport in Indonesia to Singapore, carrying 162 people, Deputy PM Minh said.
Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi thanked the Vietnamese official for the offer of assistance and provided him with the latest developments of the incident.
The Indonesia AirAsia plane, an Airbus 320-200, lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6:17 a.m. (6.17 p.m. EST), Indonesian Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa told the media.
The search for the missing plane, after being halted over the night due to bad weather, has resumed since this morning, December 29.
Indonesian Air Force spokesman Hadi Thahjanto said two C-130 Hercules planes were focusing on the search for Flight QZ8501 in areas northeast of Indonesia’s Bangka island, which lies roughly halfway between Surabaya and Singapore, in the Java Sea, Reuters reported on Monday.
The Australian Defense Department said an Australian P3 Orion surveillance plane had joined the search, while Singapore said it had sent two navy ships to help, and Malaysia said it would send three naval vessels and a C-130, according to Reuters.
China also offered to send aircraft and ships to help in the search, Reuters said.
The 162 passengers onboard Flight QZ8501 included 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain, according to Reuters.
Reuters also cited Soelistyo, head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, as saying that the missing jet could be at the bottom of the sea after it was presumed to have crashed off the Indonesian coast.
“Based on our coordinates, we expect it is in the sea, so for now (we think) it is on the sea floor,” Soelistyo said.