AirAsia Flight QZ8501: Japan despatches two vessels to join search ops in Java Sea

An Indonesian helicopter searches for victims and debris during recovery operations on Jan 1, 2015, for AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed in the Java Sea. -- PHOTO: AFP
An Indonesian helicopter searches for victims and debris during recovery operations on Jan 1, 2015, for AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed in the Java Sea. -- PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA (The Star/Asia News Network) - Japan has despatched a disaster relief team to assist in the search and recovery for Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

Information service director at the Japanese embassy in Malaysia, Takashi Yokoyama, said the Ohnami and Takanami vessels belonging to the government had been deployed at 7am on Friday for the Java Sea.

"The two vessels, Ohnami and Takanami, both with a displacement of 4650 tonnage, had set sail from Port Klang at 7am, heading to the Java Sea," he said.

Yokoyama also expressed Japan's heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.

Flight QZ8501, with 162 people on board, lost contact with Indonesia's air traffic control some 40 minutes into its journey from Surabaya to Singapore on Dec 28.

The Airbus A320-200 aircraft had reportedly requested to deviate from its original flight path to avoid thick clouds and rise to a height of 38,000 feet from the initial height of 32,000 feet.

Indonesian air traffic control lost contact with the plane at 6.24am (Western Indonesian time, an hour behind Malaysian time).

Debris spotted in the Java Sea on Tuesday was confirmed to be from the missing aircraft. At least 16 bodies have since been recovered.

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