The pilot of the missing Indonesian jetliner had twice altered his flight path due to bad weather before the plane disappeared from radar, an official said Friday, as US experts arrived to probe into the apparent crash.
The Adam Air Boeing 737 carrying 102 people, including an American man and his two daughters, did not issue a mayday, and there has been no emergency location signal to guide thousands of rescuers fanning out across Sulawesi island's dense jungles and choppy waters.
With no sign of wreckage, they extended their sea search south toward the resort island of Bali.
The plane left Indonesia's main island of Java on Monday for Manado city on Sulawesi, but altered its flight path westward halfway into the two-hour flight after being warned of rough weather near the Sulawesi city of Makassar, said Eddy Suyanto, head of the search and rescue mission.
But when it ran into 130 kilometer per hour (80 mile per hour) winds over the Makassar Strait it changed course again, bringing the plane eastward toward land and then disappearing from the radar and losing contact over the Sulawesi coastal town of Majene, roughly halfway through the flight.
It is not clear why there have been no transmissions from the plane's emergency locator.