Image of Asia: Air search for missing AirAsia jet

AP News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2014 9:23 AM
Image of Asia: Air search for missing AirAsia jet

In this photo by Associated Press photographer Dita Alangkara, who flew in a C-130 with Indonesia's air force Monday, crew members scan the horizon during a search operation for the missing AirAsia jet over the Karimata Strait.

The plane, with its exterior painted in camouflage, took off from an air base in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, at 6:20 a.m. and was scheduled to fly for six hours. The pilots, however, got an order to expand the search area, and the flight ended up lasting 10 hours. Nothing related to the missing plane was spotted.

The two pilots scanned left and right during the flight, while the navigator took notes on coordinates. There were two men behind the pilots with binoculars, looking for signs of debris from the missing jet. In the back of the plane, there were crew members looking through small round windows.

The approximately 40 journalists onboard took turns peering out of four windows. The plane hovered low at 460 meters (1,500 feet), and there were clear views of long stretches of blue water, with only a few fishing boats and a couple of cargo ships visible. The skies were cloudy or overcast for the entire trip, and the flight was very bumpy at times.

The mood on the plane was pretty grim, especially after a few hours of spotting nothing related to the missing jet, but the crew remained fully alert the entire time.