According to the JakartaPost an AirAsia plane with 162 people aboard lost contact with ground control on Sunday after takeoff from Indonesia on the way to Singapore, and the airline said search and rescue operations were underway.
The plane lost communication with Indonesia’s Surabaya airport 42 minutes after takeoff at 5:35 a.m., Hadi Mustofa, an official of the transportation ministry told Indonesia’s MetroTV.
He said the plane lost contact when it was believed to be over the Java Sea between Kalimantan and Java islands. Aboard the missing plane: 149 Indonesians and six foreigners including one Singaporean. The other foreigners are one British national, one Malaysian and three Koreans.
AirAsia said in a statement:
AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24hrs this morning.
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.
According to the JakartaPost: AirAsia flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore is believed to have crashed at the location 03.22.46 South and 108.50.07 East, in waters around 80-100 nautical miles from Belitung, a National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) official has said.
Basarnas Pangkalpinang spokesperson Supriandi said, as reported by Antara news agency on Sunday, that it had dispatched a rescue team to Belitung.
It is believed that the Airbus A320 had circled over the sea near Belitung to avoid a storm before it experienced severe turbulence and crashed into the ocean
Editor’s note: Following the live news reports on the Indonesian Television, the plane is still missing. Due to bad weather conditions the search will go on tomorrow morning, 06.00am local time.