Missing AirAsia plane no mystery or atrocity: Tony Abbott

Canberra, Dec 29: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott does not believe the disappearance of AirAsia flight QZ8501 is a mystery or an atrocity.

AirAsia flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control due to bad weather Sunday 42 minutes after it took off at 5.20 a.m. from the Indonesian city of Surabaya. It was scheduled to land at Singapore's Changi Airport at 8.30 a.m.


"This is not a mystery like the MH370 disappearance and it's not an atrocity like the MH17 shooting down," Abbott told Macquarie Radio Monday, referring to the two Malaysia Airlines planes that crashed earlier in the year, the Canberra Times reported.

"It's an aircraft that was flying a regular route on a regular schedule, it struck what appears to have been horrific weather and it's downed."

Nevertheless, aviation experts would be "putting their heads together to come up with the most effective way of ensuring that we don't just lose planes", the prime minister said.

Australia has sent an RAAF P3 Orion fitted with sophisticated search equipment to join international efforts to find the plane.

The government has also offered Indonesia any further support needed with the search, rescue and investigation.

Abbott said Australia's offer of practical assistance continued a long friendship with Indonesia.

He spoke with Indonesian president Joko Widodo overnight and Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has similarly been in touch with her counterpart.

There were no Australian citizens on board, but authorities are still checking the flight manifest for any dual nationals or permanent residents.


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