The bulk of the missing AirAsia jet may be on the floor of the Java Sea, according to sonar images obtained by Indonesia search and rescue teams, which could indicate the aircraft hit the sea bed intact.
The image suggests the jet lies around 3.2-3.5 kilometers from where debris from the plane was found on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Various reports put the site at between 24-50 meters under water.
Aviation Consultants International CEO Hugh Ritchie told CNBC that the relatively contained debris field and the sonar image suggested the aircraft was caught in bad weather.
"The aircraft got caught in a severe thunderstorm, it didn't break up but it lost its capacity aerodynamically to fly and crashed into the sea...(It) would suggest it was intact when it hit the water and that would explain why most of the debris is in close proximity," he said.