AirAsia flight QZ8501: Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen commends "significant progress" in search

An Indonesia Navy helicopter coming in to land at the air base where search and rescue operations for AirAsia flight QZ8501 are centred in Pangkalan Bun, central Kalimantan, on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
An Indonesia Navy helicopter coming in to land at the air base where search and rescue operations for AirAsia flight QZ8501 are centred in Pangkalan Bun, central Kalimantan, on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Thursday commended the efforts and progress of the search and rescue effort for AirAsia flight QZ8501.

"The Navy put together this picture mapping of what has been found underwater by Indonesian divers, to a normal plane and the location of the black box. Good that significant progress has been made in the search efforts for QZ8501," Dr Ng wrote on his Facebook page.

The AirAsia flight went missing on Dec 28, with 155 passengers and seven crew members on board. Debris from the plane was discovered two days later in the Karimata Strait around 110 nautical miles south-west from Pangkalan Bun.

 

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As of Thursday morning, 40 bodies had been retrieved, and Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Indroyono Soesilo expressed hope that the black boxes, which hold vital information about the final moments of the plane, will be found soon.

The Singapore Armed Forces deployed more than 400 personnel, two RSAF C-130 aircraft, two Super Puma helicopters, five navy ships and a six-man autonomous underwater vehicle team in the multinational search for the missing plane.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg