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SKK Migas, ConocoPhillips deliver 5,500 kl of fuel to support Air Asia search

JAKARTA ( – In a move to support the search for the plane and victims of Air Asia Flight QZ8501 in the Karimata Strait, between Belitung and Kalimantan Islands, the Special Task Force for Upstream Oil and Gas Business (SKK Migas) delivers 5,500 kiloliters of fuel to support warships and vessels that are being deployed to search and rescue the victims of airline.

Chairman of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) F. Henry Bambang Soelistyo told a press conference on Saturday night which was broadcast live by Metro TV that the SKK Migas has prepared fuel to support the vessels in searching the victims of the airline. He said 500 kl has arrived in Teluk Kumai, while 5,000 kl will arrive in Kumai on January 8.

Head for Public Affair of SKK Migas Rudianto Rimbono said that 500 kl has been delivered to Pertamina’s depo in Pangkalan Bun, while 5,000 kl will be delivered in two phases using a tanker vessel owned by ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips is operating gas fields in onshore Sumatera Island.

He told that 3,000 kl of fuel will be delivered in the first phase and followed by delivery of 2,000 kl in second phase. The diesel fuel, Rimbono said, was taken from Pertamina. He said Basarnas will coordinate the amount of fuel that will be delivered to each vessels that are being deployed to search the victims.

The Airbus A320 carrying 162 passengers including seven crews disappeared from radar last Sunday (Dec. 28), halfway of its flight from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, to Singapore.

Minutes before disappearing air traffic control (ATC) radar in Jakarta, the pilot told the ATC that the aircraft is approaching a threatening cloud and requested permit to turn left and fly to a higher altitude to 38,000 feet from 32,000 feet.

The pilot got permission to turn left but yet to be given permission to fly to required altitude due to crowded traffic in that altitude. Two minutes later after the pilot made the request, the ATC lost contact.

The moment since the aircraft disappeared from radar of the Aviation Traffic Center (ATC) in Jakarta remained in the dark. The suspicion that the aircraft may have exploded in the air is remote since some bodies that have been recovered over the past few days remained intact. Some observers have said that the aircraft could have stalled or lost power when it tried to elevate to a higher altitude, but may have managed to land in rough sea.

Basarnas Chief Soelistyo told a press conference on Sunday that many passengers of the aircraft may have been trapped in their seats, as there were only 4 bodies discovered on Sunday. On Friday, around 21 bodies were found, mostly by US navy ship USS Sampson.

A number of countries have taken part in the search under the coordination of Basarnas, including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, US, Australia and Russia. On Sunday, China has sent an aircraft along with its crews to help the search. The search and rescue efforts have been hindered by monsoon rains and high wave.

So far, 34 bodies have been found, with nine have been identified. On Sunday, four more bodies were found and transferred to Pangkalan Bun Airport by helicopters owned by Singapore and US. Basarnas is coordinating a multinational team in searching the aircraft victims, wreckage of the aircraft as well as blackbox. (*)

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