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Jakarta Post

Russian divers to join search for AirAsia aircraft

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, January 3, 2015   /  06:42 pm

A team of 25 Russian divers will join the search and rescue mission for AirAsia Flight QZ8501, launching their activities from an Indonesian Navy warship.

Antara news agency reported from Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, on Saturday that National Police patrol boat KP Balam will transfer the divers from Panglima Utar Kumai Port to the KRI Pattimura.

Earlier in the day, the Russian team visited the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) headquarters to coordinate the search for the Airbus A320-200 that crashed in the Karimata Strait on Dec. 28.

Upon arriving at Basarnas, the Russian team was met by a representative from the Transportation Ministry who led them straight into coordination efforts with the agency.

Basarnas chief Air Marshal F Henry Bambang Sulistyo said the Russian team was tasked with looking for floating objects outside the main search area due to strong currents and waves in the area.

Russia has already sent two planes to assist in the search for the plane'€™s wreckage and victims'€™ bodies.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry has also sent a Be-200 amphibious aircraft and an Il-76 heavy transport aircraft together with special equipment, including a Folkon remote-controlled deep-water vehicle, an acoustic echo sounder, boats and engines for the equipment and more than 70 rescuers, including divers.

On Friday, Basarnas extended the 13,500 square mile search area, where a 1,575 square mile stretch of water is being prioritized, due to the discovery of 30 bodies from the crashed plane in the area.

In the prioritized sector, three ships capable of underwater detection have been deployed. The ships include Indonesian research vessels the KR Baruna Jaya 1, the KM Geo Survey and Singaporean warship the RSS Persistence.

According to Sulistyo, a total of five planes, eight helicopters, and 22 ships deployed by Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and the US are active in the search. (dyl/nvn)