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MOSCOW, January 3. /TASS/. A team of Russian rescuers has joined search efforts in the area of the AirAsia jet crash off Indonesia, head of the operational group and chief military expert of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry Eduard Chizhikov said on Saturday.
On December 28, an AirAsia airliner A320-200 disappeared from radar screens about 40 minutes after its departure from Indonesia to Singapore, presumably crashing in the area of Kalimantan (Borneo) Island. The jet was carrying 155 passengers and seven crewmembers.
“A combined team of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has joined the search as part of international efforts over the air crash of an A-320 airliner,” the Emergencies Ministry official said.
The first group of Russian rescuers aboard a Be-200 plane has already left for the Kalimantan Island in the Java Sea to join the search effort, he said during a conference call.
“By the end of the day, the entire Russian grouping will be flown to the area,” he said.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry held negotiations with Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, during which “agreement was reached on the procedure of using Russian rescuers,” he said.
“The heads of the rescue operation are paying special attention to the possibilities of using the Be-200 amphibious plane and the Folkon remote control deepwater vehicle,” Chizhikov said.
Upon agreement with the Indonesian side, air search over the rescue operation has been organized. Russia’s participation in the rescue operation is causing foreign media’s enhanced interest, the Russian emergencies official said.
Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency Chief Bambang Soelistyo said earlier on Saturday that rescuers had found large pieces of the crashed plane’s debris at a depth of 30 meters in the Java Sea.
According to him, the objects were lying not far from the settlement of Pangkalan Bun in the central part of Kalimantan Island. Meanwhile, an oil slick was noticed in the same area.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Emergencies Minister Vladimir Stepanov has said over 160 rescuers were ready to go to Indonesia to join the search and rescue operation while 75 rescuers were already working in the area of the plane’s crash site.
“We have made plans for a total grouping of over 160 people, six planes and equipment to carry out the search in the area,” he said.
Two planes of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry have already arrived in Indonesia and Russian rescuers have joined the rescue effort, he said.
The Russian rescuers will work in the plane crash area as long as necessary, he said.