An AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday, Indonesian media said, citing a Transport Ministry official.
Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa said the aircraft, flight number QZ 8501, lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6:17 a.m local time. (6.17 p.m. EST).
The Airbus 320-200 had 155 passengers and crew on board, another Indonesian Transport official said.
Mustofa said the plane had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact.
Indonesian media says that 149 Indonesians are on board, along with three from Korea, one from Singapare, Britain, and Malaysia.
A search and rescue operation had been launched, Malaysian-based AirAsia said.
Here’s the airline’s statement via ABC News: “At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available.”
The flight had been due in Singapore at 8:30 a.m. Singapore time (7:30 p.m. EST). The Singapore airport said on its website the status of the flight was “delayed”.
Singapore said on Sunday it has activated its air force and navy to help in the search and rescue operation.
“Two C130s are already on stand-by for this purpose. We remain ready to provide any assistance to support the search and rescue effort,” the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement.
A waiting area, and facilities and support have been set up for relatives at Changi Airport Terminal 2, it said.
AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 was operated by Indonesia AirAsia. The Airbus A320-200 in question, PK-AXC, is 6.3 years old and was delivered to the Indonesia Airline in October 2008.
The White House says President Obama has been briefed on the situation while on vacation in Hawaii.
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