An AirAsia flight from Indonesia to Singapore has gone missing.
The airline has confirmed that flight number QZ8501, which took off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 5.35am bound for Singapore, lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 7.24am local time – less than an hour after takeoff.
AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact at 07:24hrs this morning http://t.co/WomRQuzcPO
— AirAsia (@AirAsia) December 28, 2014
There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant, as well as 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew.
The nationalities on board included 156 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian and one French person.
In a statement on Facebook AirAsia said:
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 aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC.
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 air transportation director-general Djoko Murjatmodjo told AFP news agency search efforts were being focused on an area about halfway along the expected route of flight QZ8501.
“We are coordinating with rescue team and looking for its position. We believe it is somewhere between Tanjung Pandan, a town on Belitung Island, and Kalimantan (on the western side of the island of Borneo),” he said.
Adding to their first media release, AirAsia has since reported that search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority, and that the airline is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
“The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control,” the latest statement reads.
“The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on 16 November 2014.”
Changi Airport in Singapore has tweeted that the status of the plane is now listed as unknown.
— Changi Airport (@FansofChangi) December 28, 2014
The prime minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong has also taken to Twitter with this concerns for the passengers on board flight QZ8501.
Saddened to hear of missing flight #QZ8501. My thoughts are with the passengers and their families. – LHL
— Lee Hsien Loong (@leehsienloong) December 28, 2014
It has been reported that the aircraft request a new flight route to diverted around bad weather.
Indonesia’s air transport director Joko Muryo Atmodjo said the aircraft had been flying at 32,000 feet, and had asked to fly at 38,000 feet to avoid clouds before it lost contact.
Sweden-based real time air traffic tracker Flightradar24 has tweeted the estimated position of the flight when it lost contact with authorities.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) December 28, 2014
CCTVNews reported has reported that Indonesia’s authorities say that there is no possibility for missing flight #QZ8501 to continue flying as it only had fuel for 4.5 hours.
Unconfirmed reports from Jakarta say that QZ8501 is down in the sea near Belitung Island.
Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop says she has been in contact with her Indonesian counterpart, foreign minister Retno Marsudi, to offer support and assistance.
Joko Muryo Atmodjo says no distress signal had been sent from flight QZ8501.
AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes is now on his was to Surabaya and said he will provide information as we get it.
On my way to Surabaya where most of the passangers are from as with my Indonesian management. Providing information as we get it.
— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) December 28, 2014
Singapore says 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 Singaporean journalist Kirsten Han is at Changi Airport.
She says while the airport is mostly business as usual, the family members of those on the plane have been taken to a private are.
“This is coordinated by the airport so they’re giving them whatever support while they wait for news.”
She has also said that there will be no press conference in Changi Airport on QZ8501 today.
Here are some photos that she has posted on Twitter.
— Kirsten Han (@kixes) December 28, 2014
— Kirsten Han (@kixes) December 28, 2014
AirAsia is a Malaysian low-cost airline headquartered near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and runs domestic and international flights on 182 routes spanning across 17 countries.
And according to investor information, last year alone the carrier flew 42.6 million passengers – making it the 5that largest airline in Asia based on passengers carried.
This year AirAsia was named winner of the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline Award at the World Airline Awards.
Following to disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on March 8, the downing of MH17 on July 17, the TransAsia Airways crash on July 23 and the Air Algérie plane crash on July 24, 2014 has been the deadliest year on record for the international aviation industry.
More to come.
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