Flight path of Flight 8501
The flight path of missing AirAsia flight 8501Source: Google Maps

There are unconfirmed reports that wreckage from has been seen in the sea near East Belitung, off the east coast of Sumatra – close to the last-known location of the missing Malaysian AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

The report from Bangka Pos, an Indonesian news website, states there is no confirmation that the alleged wreckage is from flight 8501. Officials in Indonesia and Malaysia have rebutted the reports.

Officials in Indonesia and Malaysia have rejected the reports.

On Sunday morning Indonesia's director of air transport, Djoko Murjatmodjo, said the last recorded position of the flight was believed to have been over the Java Sea between Tanjung Pandan on Belitung Island and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

"The position where contact was lost was between Tanjung Pandan and Pontianak, about 100 nautical miles south-east of Tanjung Pandan," said Djoko. The purported wreckage sighting is approximately 100 miles away from this position.

The purported wreckage sighting is approximately 100 miles away from this position.

Tatang Zaenudin, deputy head of personnel from the Indonesian search and rescue agency Basarnas, said that seven ships had been despatched to the area from Tanjung Pandan, which is the biggest town on Belitung Island. However, they are not expected to arrive until midnight local time (5pm GMT), due to poor weather conditions, according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Joni Superiyadi, the local manager of Basarnas, stated that waves of up to two metres are slowing the passage of the boats. Four helicopters have also been sent to the area, including one travelling from Jakarta.

Superyadi is discounting reports of sightings of the debris, saying he has not received any reports from private vessels. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai has also denied reports that the wreckage of the flight has been spotted.

Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong Lai also denies reports that wreckage from the flight has been spotted.

Bangka Pos also reports that Indonesian police have sent a team of 13 divers to the area: "We carry complete equipment for diving, such as diving and body bags," said policeman Iptu Dhanar Dhono.

The team is reported to be specialists from the local bomb squad.