The PJ Tatler

U.S. Taking 'a Little Bit of Time' to Review Indonesia Request for AirAsia Help

The State Department said today it will take “a little bit of time” to review Indonesia’s request for help in locating missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

Two days of searching in the Java Sea have yielded no sign of the plane, which had 162 people on board. There was no distress call from the pilot before the plane disappeared from radar, though he did ask to change altitude.

“AirAsia Indonesia has received confirmation from The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) that an international search and rescue mission from Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia has been mobilized in the search of flight QZ8501,” the airline, a budget carrier much like Southwest Airlines, said in a statement this morning.

“AirAsia Indonesia continue to support these efforts and has been actively cooperating with the search and rescue authorities. AirAsia Indonesia’s primary focus remains on the families and Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Indonesia is currently stationed at the family centre in Surabaya. We have been keeping the families updated on the search and rescue efforts as well as provide emotional support. Another group of AirAsia officials are providing the same to the families based in Singapore.”

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters today that they’ve confirmed no Americans were on the flight.

“Our embassy in Jakarta is in close contact with Indonesian officials, and today, we received a request for assistance locating the airplane, and we are reviewing that request to find out how best we can meet Indonesia’s request for assistance. We’ve just received the request today, so it will take a little bit of time,” Rathke said.

“I don’t want to go into too many details of the Indonesian request, but it was a request for assistance associated with locating the aircraft,” he added.

“We received a diplomatic note at our embassy in Jakarta from Indonesian authorities. So our embassy, of course, is focused on finding ways to be responsive. Of course, we’ve been in close contact with Indonesian officials since the disappearance of the plane.”