Update as of 5:11 a.m. EST: An object spotted during an aerial search for the missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 is not from the plane, Agence France-Presse reported citing Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla.
"It has been checked and no sufficient evidence was found to confirm what was reported," Kalla reportedly told a press conference at Surabaya airport from where the plane departed for Singapore on Sunday, before air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft.
An Australian plane looking for Flight QZ8501 has spotted objects in the sea near the area where the AirAsia plane went missing Sunday, an Indonesian official said, according to The Associated Press. The AirAsia Indonesia flight from Surabaya to Singapore with 155 passengers on board, including 138 adults, 16 children and one infant, as well as two pilots and five crew members, has been missing since Sunday morning.
An Australian Orion aircraft detected objects that could be from the missing plane, near Nangka island about 100 miles southwest of Pangkalan Bun, about 700 miles from the location where the plane lost contact with air traffic control, Jakarta's Air Force base commander Rear Marshal Dwi Putranto said Monday, according to AP. The Australian Defense Force said that it would not comment on the potential sighting of objects in the sea as the AirAsia search operation is being conducted by Indonesia, ABC News reported.
"However, we cannot be sure whether it is part of the missing AirAsia plane," Putranto reportedly said, adding: "We are now moving in that direction, which is in cloudy conditions."
An Indonesian air force spokesperson said that "oil spills were found on the search area,” however, authorities are yet to confirm if they are from the missing plane or from other ships, BBC reported, adding that search teams had also detected "a weak signal," which officials said did not come from the missing jet. The search area is part of a busy shipping lane.
The Airbus A320-200 was flying between the Indonesian port of Tanjung Pandan and the town of Pontanak in West Kalimantan on Borneo when it disappeared from radar. The missing plane had requested for a route change to avoid rough weather before it lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control.
The head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency said Monday that the missing AirAsia flight likely went down in the Java Sea and “could be in the bottom of the sea." The U.S., UK, South Korea, Singapore, China and India have offered to help in the search-and-rescue operations.