Beijing: China has announced that it will send an aircraft and a vessel to assist in the search and rescue operations for the AirAsia flight QZ8501, which disappeared Sunday while flying from Indonesia to Singapore.
"After consultations with the Indonesian government, the China has decided to send an aircraft and a vessel to search for the missing AirAsia flight," the Chinese defence ministry said in a statement Monday, according to a Xinhua report.
A navy frigate on routine patrol in the South China Sea was heading for the waters where the jet went missing, the statement said.
An air force jet was making preparations and coordinating with the countries on the flight route, the statement added.
The Airbus A320-200 aircraft with 155 passengers and seven crew members on board went missing soon after taking off from Surabaya in Indonesia's East Java province early Sunday morning.
The aircraft was at 32,000 feet over the Java Sea in Indonesian territory when it lost contact with the air traffic control. A thunderstorm was raging in the area at that time.
Earlier, an Indonesian official told the media that the missing jet was believed to have sunk to the bottom of the sea.
Should the projection be true, Indonesia needed to cooperate with other countries to bring the wreckage to the surface, said Bambang Sulistyo, head of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).