‘Search shouldn’t take long’

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 29 Desember 2014 | 20.01

An Indonesian official says Australian planes have spotted objects in the sea in the AirAsia search area.

A member of the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) points to a map of a search area during a briefing prior to a search and rescue operation of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501. Picture: AP/Tatan Syuflana Source: AP

THE search for QZ8501 should take a matter of days, rather than weeks or months, an Australian oceanographer has predicted.

Dr Erik van Sebille from the University of New South Wales said it should be possible to see the fuselage of the AirAsia Indonesia A320 on the floor of the Java Sea, from the air, if it crashed into the water.

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A specialist from the Singapore Ministry Of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) displays their devices ready to be deployed for the search of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501. Picture: AFP/ Mohd Fyrol Source: AFP

"The Java Sea is really an inland sea that's roughly 40-50m deep everywhere," said Dr van Sebille.

"Light travels up to 100m in the ocean so it should be theoretically possible to see the fuselage lying on the ocean floor."

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In addition, the currents in the Java Sea were weak, meaning the plane should be in almost exactly the same place where it hit the water, he said.

"The difficulty is going to be the weather. It's monsoon season there," Dr van Sebille said.

"The other thing that will very much complicate the search is all the debris.

Search planes and ships resume the hunt for AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501, which went missing over the Java Sea with 162 people on board. Sarah Toms reports.

"This is one of the filthier parts of the ocean – it's full of plastics, old fishing nets, or ghost nets 10 to 20m in size."

Any underwater search was likely to be much more straightforward than that currently underway for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

"You don't need deep submersibles for a search in 40 to 50m of water," said Dr van Sebille.

"The equipment required can pretty much be bought off the shelf."

The area being searched is large at 124,000 square kilometres, but the aircraft's last coordinates have given searchers a fair indication of its final resting place.

More than 20 aircraft and vessels are involved in the search including a Royal Australian Air Force P3-Orion.

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