QZ8501 families hold out with hope at airport

There is still no solid information on what happened to missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 but worried family members wait faithfully at the Juanda terminal 2 crisis centre in Surabaya.

Bambang Andreas, the father of one of the missing Indonesian passengers on board the plane flying from Surabaya to Singapore yesterday morning, told Indonesian news portal Detik.com that there was nothing to do but wait for updates.

"We were here yesterday. We want to know the latest as updates come in," said Bambang, who was accompanied by his wife.

He said his daughter worked as a tour guide and was going to Singapore and then Malaysia with a group of 20 holidaymakers.

"I never had any bad feelings. She was always taking guests overseas," he told the portal today.

The phones at the crisis centre had also been ringing non-stop with concerned family members calling for news. Detik.com reported that there was a call every three minutes.

Aria Putra, one of the employees at the centre, said she could only tell the callers that there was still no news and they would call to inform if there were new developments.

Detik.com also reported that the Broadcast Commission of Indonesia (KPI) has asked the media not to push the family members of passengers for interviews and to empathise with them while reporting news on the missing flight.

QZ8501 departed from Surabaya yesterday morning and was scheduled to land at Changi International Airport.

However, the aircraft went missing midway during the journey and a search and rescue operation resumed today.

The news portal reported that Indonesian authorities were now using the last radar data of QZ8501, which was recorded before all contact was lost, to detect the missing plane since they never received the Emergency Locater Transmitter (ELT) signal.

National Search and Rescue agency (Basarnas) chief Air Marshal Soelistyo would not speculate why there was no ELT signal. He said it was not Basarnas' job to determine why the signal did not go off.

For now, search for the plane is focused on two main areas – north and south of Bangka island – across tens to hundreds of thousands of kilometres, the portal reported.

It was reported that the last known location of QZ8501 was over the Java Sea between Tanjung Pandan near Bangka island and Pontianak in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

This morning, the Indonesian air force sent out two Hercules C130s to the search areas. Malaysia and Singapore had also sent vessels for the search.

Basarnas believes the plane was likely at the bottom of the sea. – December 29, 2014.