UPDATE: Australian plane spots objects in sea in AirAsia search - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Australian plane spots objects in sea in AirAsia search area

Posted: Updated:
JAKARTA, Indonesia - An astonishingly tragic year for air travel in Southeast Asia has turned worse, with an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people disappearing Saturday, December 27th over stormy Indonesian waters.

There's been no word on AirAsia Flight 8501's fate despite days of searching by air and sea.

An Indonesian official says objects have been spotted in the sea by a search plane hunting for the missing AirAsia jet.

Jakarta's Air Force base commander Rear Marshal Dwi Putranto says he was informed Monday that an Australian Orion aircraft had detected suspicious objects near Nangka island, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Pangkalan Bun, near central Kalimantan, or 700 miles (1,120 kilometers) from the location where the plane lost contact.

"However, we cannot be sure whether it is part of the missing AirAsia plane," Putranto says, "We are now moving in that direction, which is in cloudy conditions."

The plane vanished in airspace thick with dense storm clouds, strong winds and lightning on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. Searchers have had to fight against heavy rain.

At the Surabaya airport, shocked family members have been poring over the plane's manifest, crying and embracing when they learned the news. Nearly all the passengers and crew are Indonesians, who are frequent visitors to Singapore, particularly on holidays.

AirAsia is based in Malaysia. The plane's loss comes on top of the still-unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July over Ukraine.

Indonesia's search and rescue agency says the air search is to resume Monday morning, while some ships continue to comb the area overnight.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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