Amid reports that the missing AirAsia plane has crashed, the Malaysian Transport Minister on Sunday dismissed the claims that wreckage of the aircraft, carrying 162 people, had been found.
Asked about reports that the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 has crashed in Belintung, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai confirmed the reports to be false.
Liow also asked people to remain calm and not listen to unverified news reports.
“There is plenty of speculation that they have found the plane. At this point in time (5pm) that is not true. We are still looking for the plane,” Liow was quoted as saying by the Star Online.
AirAsia Flight QZ8501 with 155 passengers on board — including one British, one Malaysian, one Singaporean, three Koreans, — and seven crew members lost contact with air traffic control at 0724 local time Indonesia (0454 IST).
Sixteen children and one infant were among the passengers on board the AirAsia Airbus A320-200 that went missing on the flight from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore.
At a press conference this morning, Indonesian officials said the plane was several hours past the time when its fuel would have been exhausted.
There were unconfirmed media reports that a aircraft crashed in the waters of East Belitung, off the east coast of Sumatra.
The exact location of the crash site has not been identified, media reports said.
The aircraft was in the Indonesian Flight Information Region (FIR), more than 200 nm southeast of the Singapore — Jakarta FIR boundary, when contact was lost, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said.
Contact with the plane was lost 42 minutes after takeoff.
There were no Indian nationals on board.
The plane took off from Surabaya (Indonesia) at 5:20 am local time and was scheduled to land at Singapore’s Changi Airport at 8:30 am.