An AirAsia Plane Is Missing And Thought To Have Crashed Near An Island In Indonesia

AirAsia plane
An Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320-200 passenger prepares to land at Sukarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang on the outskirts of Jakarta January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni

An AirAsia plane that went missing during a flight to Singapore is thought to have crashed near the Indonesian island of Belitung, The Jakarta Post reports.

A search and rescue team has been dispatched to the area.

CCTV News reports that wreckage might have been spotted near Belitung Island, but there has been no official confirmation of that yet.

An official from the Indonesian navy told BBC that no wreckage has been found yet.

AirAsia flight QZ 8501, which was flying from from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, lost contact with air traffic control at about 6:17 a.m. on Sunday about halfway through the flight.

Shortly before the plane lost contact with air traffic control, the plane crew asked to deviate from the planned flight path because of bad weather, the Malaysian-based AirAsia said in a statement.

155 Indonesians are on board the plane, along with three people from South Korea, and one from Singapare, Britain, Malaysia, and France. Of those passengers, 16 are children and one is an infant.

Here’s where Belitung Island is located:

AirAsia crash map

The island lies directly ahead of where the plane was when it lost contact with air traffic control:

AirAsia plane map

The missing plane is an Airbus A320-200, a popular and generally reliable model. The plane is about six years old.

Two pilots were on board the plane. The captain had clocked a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer had 2,275, according to AirAsia.

Singapore’s air force and navy is helping with the search and rescue operation to locate the plane.

The AirAsia plane disappearance comes after two other major aviation disasters this year. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 disappeared in March and was never found. In July, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 was shot down while it was flying over Ukraine.