Search operation has no time limit, says Kalla

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the search for the plane and passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501, which lost contact with air traffic control between Surabaya and Singapore on Sunday, would continue without a time limit.

"It's not that easy to carry out a search operation but we, the Indonesian government, will continue to try our best. All parties, starting from police officers, to the National Search and Rescue Agency [Basarnas], the AirAsia management and all the Indonesian people, as well as the relevant authorities from foreign countries, will participate in the search for the AirAsia plane," said Kalla during a press conference on Monday.

The Vice President was speaking after he met and talked with families of the passengers on board QZ8501 at the AirAsia Crisis Center at Terminal II of Juanda International Airport in Surabaya.

Kalla was accompanied by Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani, Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan, East Java governor Soekarwo, Surabaya mayor Tri Rismaharini and Sidoarjo regent Saiful Ilah.

Kalla said up till now, there was no adequate evidence to confirm that AirAsia flight QZ8501 had crashed into the waters of Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan.

"We have checked the information, but there has been no adequate evidence [to support the claim]. Basarnas and the Indonesian Navy do not yet have enough data, but we will give close attention to any information and data we receive," he said.

Meanwhile, the Navy's Aviation Center (Penerbad) commander, First Commodore Sigit Setiyanta, said the AirAsia flight was thought to have crashed into Tanjung Pandan waters in Bangka Belitung area, which were between 25-50 meters deep.

"The joint team has continued to explore the location suspected to be the point where the aircraft went down. It is unlikely that the aircraft would have moved to another place because it is a wide-body aircraft. The current here is not strong enough to have moved the aircraft," said Sigit.

The Navy has also dispatched a mine sweeper that could detect metal. "We have deployed KRI Pulau Rengat. This mine sweeping vessel can detect metal," said Sigit.

Other vessels dispatched include three corvettes, namely KRI Patimura, KRI Hasanudin and KRI Sutedi Sena Putra, as well as patrol vessel KRI Todak, amphibious transport dock KRI Banda Aceh, KRI Pandrong and KRI Warakas.