Editor’s Note: This story appeared in today’s online version of ABCNews.com. We reprint in part here.
Australia has joined the massive search and rescue operation for an AirAsia Indonesia jet that lost contact with air traffic control over the Java Sea during a flight to Singapore shortly after the pilots requested a change of flight plan because of weather.
The Australian Defence Force deployed a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft to assist in the Indonesian-led search for missing AirAsia flight 8501, the Australian Department of Defense announced.
The Orion took off from Darwin Monday morning local time to join the search operations.
“The RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft has a well proven capability in search and rescue and carries maritime search radar coupled with infra-red and electro-optical sensors to support the visual observation capabilities provided by its highly trained crew members,” Australian Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.