Indonesia: Missing AirAsia plane's fuel tanks empty by now

A Changi Airport staff holds up a sign to direct possible next-of-kin of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ 8501 from Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, at Changi Airport in Singapore December 28, 2014. — Reuters pic
A Changi Airport staff holds up a sign to direct possible next-of-kin of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ 8501 from Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, at Changi Airport in Singapore December 28, 2014. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — The missing Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 would have ran out of fuel by now if it is still flying, an Indonesian official confirmed today.

Joko Murjatmodjo said the plane carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members on board did not carry enough fuel to last beyond a four hour 30 minute flight.

“If we are talking about fuel, at this moment, the fuel - if it is still flying – is already finished,” the director of Indonesia’s Air Transport in the Ministry of Transportation said in a press conference that was carried in a live broadcast by Astro Awani.

Joko calculated this based on the plane’s flight of over one hours before the Indonesian air traffic control lost contact with it at 6.17am (Indonesian time), adding that the plane had since then been missing for around three hours.

The plane departed from Indonesia’s Surabaya at 5.35am and was initially due to arrive at 8.30am at Singapore.

Joko also said contact was lost when the plane was between the Indonesian port of Tanjung Pandan and the Pontianak town on Indonesia’s Kalimantan mainland.

Tanjung Pandan is located on Pulau Belitung, an island located midway between Indonesia and Singapore.

Media reports of an unidentified plane purportedly crashing in the Belitung Timur waters off Sumatra’s east coast have surfaced, but the claim has yet to be verified officially.

Flight QZ8501 was carrying seven crew members and 155 passengers – 138 adults, 16 children and one baby.

Indonesians accounted for the largest number of people on board at 149, with three Koreans, one Singaporean, one British citizen and one Malaysian on board the flight.

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