Missing AirAsia flight #QZ8501: Aviation expert claims there is little chance of finding survivors from missing plane

But leading aviation experts have warned that there is a slim chance of finding any survivors, due to the period of time that had already passed since the last contact was made with the plane, and the weather conditions in the area.  David Learmount, Flight Global’s operations and safety editor, said it was “routine” for pilots to request diversions when approaching stormy conditions, as was the case with the Airbus A320-200.He said: “We’re not just talking about thunder and lightning here.”Storms can be very, very powerful indeed and rip a medium-sized aeroplane completely apart, that’s why a pilot will routinely ask to divert around them.“The plane could not still be airborne – it was a short-haul flight, there would be no fuel for staying in the air for quite as long as this.”Mr Learmount, who is a pilot, also ruled out the likelihood of passengers surviving a sea landing.He added: “The pilots were talking to air traffic control right until the last minute.”Something distracted their attention so they were no longer able to keep talking. We don’t know what happened at the moment, and it doesn’t appear to be a deliberate act.“We can speculate ad infinitum when the only thing we can go on is that it is missing.”But I think the prognosis is not good.“
However, William Waldock, an expert on air crash search and rescue with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, said people must “reserve judgement” until the circumstances around the plane’s disappearance are understood.“I think we have to let this play out. Hopefully the airplane will get found, and if that happens, it will probably be in the next few hours,” he said on Sunday. “Until then, we have to reserve judgement.”The air search was halted at 5.30pm local time due to poor visibility. Some ships are continuing the search overnight.The Airbus A320 is a workhorse of modern aviation. The A320 family of jets, which includes A319 and A321, has a very good safety record, with just 0.14 fatal accidents per million take-offs, according to a safety study published by Boeing in August.