Indonesian officials now believe that AirAsia Flight QZ8501 is somewhere on the bottom of the Java Sea after the plane carrying 162 people disappeared on Sunday.

AirAsia QZ8501 Disappeared Sunday

AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was heading to Singapore when it disappeared in Indonesian airspace over the Java Sea, losing contact air traffic control. No distress signals were reported, and families of the 155 passengers, 2 pilots, 4 cabin crewmembers and 1 engineer have gathered at the Surabaya airport where the flight originated and at Changi International Airport, where the plane was scheduled to land.

Search For AirAsia Flight To Expand

After two days of searching, Indonesian official Bambang Sulistyo, who is heading the search and rescue, said that based on the minimal results of the two-day search and the last known coordinates of the plane, their best hypothesis is that QZ8501 crashed into the sea.

“Based on the co-ordinates given to us and evaluation that the estimated crash position is in the sea, the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea,” Sulistyo told reporters on Monday.

Sulistyo also announced that the search would be widened when it resumes Tuesday morning. International help will also be joining the search, including ships from the Chinese navy, investigators from France and possibly the US Navy Seventh Fleet.

Little is known about what happened to AirAsia Flight QZ8501, and the searches have turned up little evidence regarding its current whereabouts. Early reports of debris and oil slicks were proven not to belong to the missing flight; however, Indonesian Air Force spokesman Hadi Tjahjanto revealed that oil found off the coast of Belitung island in the Java Sea could belong to AirAsia QZ8501 – nothing has been confirmed.

“We don’t want to speculate but right now of course the plane has been missing for 12 hours and there’s a deep sense of depression here. This is a massive shock to us and we are devastated by what has happened. It’s unbelievable,” said AirAsia’s Chief Executive Tony Fernandes late Sunday.

Bad Weather Responsible For Missing Flight?

Many are reporting that the plane’s disappearance is most likely tied to particularly bad weather. Before the plane lost contact, one of the pilots reportedly requested permission to change course to a higher altitude to avoid storm clouds. According to reports, the pilot’s request was denied, as another plane was flying at the requested altitude – 38,000 feet as opposed to 32,000. AirAsia CEO Fernandes is hesitant to blame weather for the plane’s disappearance, however, saying, “We don’t want to speculate whether weather was a factor. We really don’t know.