AirAsia flight QZ8501: Singapore navy recovers plane window panel, Indonesian team spots tail on sonar

A piece of AirAsia QZ8501, likely to be a window panel, was found by the Republic of Singapore Navy on Friday morning. -- PHOTO: NG ENG HEN/FACEBOOK
A piece of AirAsia QZ8501, likely to be a window panel, was found by the Republic of Singapore Navy on Friday morning. -- PHOTO: NG ENG HEN/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A piece of AirAsia QZ8501, likely to be a window panel, was found by the Republic of Singapore Navy on Friday morning, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said.

"RSS Supreme recovered a piece of an aircraft this morning, likely to be a window panel," Dr Ng wrote on Facebook.

"They have informed the Indonesian search authorities and will be handing over the item," he added.

 

//

Meanwhile, the Indonesia search team has detected by sonar what is suspected to be the tail of the plane, MetroTV News reported.

The piece was picked up by sonar radar at a depth of 29 metres in the waters of the Karimata Strait at 7.34am on Friday, the Indonesian media outlet said.

Colonel Yayan, Commander of Indonesian navy ship Bung Tomo, said the find has yet to be confirmed visually.

Pieces of equipment and debris from the plane have been found since Tuesday, but crucial parts of the jet, including the fuselage and the black box, have yet to be recovered.

Earlier on Friday, Dr Ng also said the RSS Valour recovered a passenger's luggage bag. The item has been delivered to the Indonesian search authorities.

"As this is a personal item and as a mark of respect to our Indonesian friends and affected families, MINDEF/SAF will not divulge any additional information on this item," he wrote in a Facebook post.

Another Singapore ship, the Bedok-class mine countermeasure vessel RSS Kallang arrived in the search area on Friday, and will focus on underwater search operations, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

This marks the arrival of all the assets the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has committed so far to the search for the AirBus A320 which went missing on Dec 28 during a flight from Surabaya to Singapore.

With the focus of the search now shifting underwater, missile corvette RSS Valour which has been focussing on surface search efforts, will depart for Singapore as part of the SAF's rotational plan.

The Singapore Armed Forces has contributed more than 400 SAF personnel, two C-130 aircraft, two Super Puma helicopters, five navy ships and a 6-man Autonomous Underwater Vehicle team to the search efforts.

chuimin@sph.com.sg

AirAsia QZ8501 banner