AirAsia QZ8501: Japan joins in search and recovery operation

PETALING JAYA: Japan has dispatched a disaster relief team to assist in the search and recovery for Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

Information service director at the Japanese embassy here, Takashi Yokoyama, said the Ohnami and Takanami vessels belonging to the government had been deployed at 7am on Friday for the Java Sea.

"The two vessels, Ohnami and Takanami, both with a displacement of 4650 tonnage, had set sail from Port Klang at 7am, heading to the Java Sea," he said.

Yokoyama also expressed Japan's heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.

Flight QZ8501, carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members, lost contact with Indonesia's air traffic control some 40 minutes into its journey from Surabaya to Singapore on Dec 28.

The Airbus A320-200 aircraft had reportedly requested to deviate from its original flight path to avoid thick clouds and rise to a height of 38,000 feet from the initial height of 32,000 feet.

Indonesian air traffic control lost contact with the plane at 6.24am (Western Indonesian time, an hour behind Malaysian time).

Debris spotted in the Java Sea on Tuesday was confirmed to be from the missing aircraft, with the subsequent finding of bodies.