AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 From Indonesia To Singapore Loses Contact With Air Traffic Control

AirAsia Flight From Indonesia To Singapore Loses Contact With Air Traffic Control

An AirAsia flight traveling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore with 162 people on board lost contact with air traffic control early Sunday morning, the airline confirmed.

Flight QZ 8501 -- an Airbus 320-200 -- lost communication with Indonesia's Surabaya Juanda International Airport at 7:24 Singapore time on Sunday morning, the airline said. The plane "was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost," AirAsia said in a statement.

The plane took off at 5:20 a.m. and was scheduled to land over six hours ago, at 8:30 a.m. local time, according to AFP.

"The weather was not good -- it was bad -- at the estimated location the plane lost contact. We just received a weather report from the national meteorological, geophysics and climatology agency," Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa Djuraid said.

Mustofa said the plane lost contact somewhere between Kalimantan and Belitung island, The Straits Times reports. The ministry's air transportation director Joko Muryo Atmodjo said no distress signal had been sent.

The airline said 155 passengers, two pilots and five crew members were on board the flight. The passengers include 16 children and one infant. AirAsia said one Singaporean, one Malaysian, one French citizen and three South Koreans were traveling on the plane, in addition to Indonesian nationals.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, one woman present at a crisis center at the Changi Airport had seven family members on the flight, including her mother and brother.

AirAsia confirmed this plane traveling from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control early Sunday morning. The jet is photographed above at Singapore Changi Airport in 2010. (Credit: Bruno Geiger, Flickr)

AirAsia released the confirmed a search was underway in a statement on the missing plane:

At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service.

AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801.

Indonesia's Transport Ministry said six ships and two helicopters were deployed to search for the missing flight.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore released a statement early Sunday saying "a waiting area, and all necessary facilities and support have been set up for relatives and friends of the affected passengers" at Changi Airport. ~ Huffington Post


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