There is little known about what has happened to an AirAsia plane headed for Singapore Sunday morning which suddenly lost contact with air traffic controllers less than an hour after takeoff from Indonesia’s Juanda International Airport in Surabaya.
The last communication from the Malaysian-based airplane was a request for a diversion from its planned flight path. Some speculate the alteration was due to weather issues, others have expressed more sinister speculations.
AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was scheduled to land in Singapore approximately one hour before it disappeared. It was an early morning flight, local time.
According to AirAsia, all but five of the passengers are Indonesian. One is from Singapore, one from Malaysia, one from France and three from South Korea. There are 138 adults, 16 children and one infant listed as passengers. There were two pilots and five crew members. Each pilot had logged over 2,000 flying hours. The aircraft had undergone routine maintenance a month ago.
Hadi Mustofa, an official with Indonesia’s Transport Ministry, told reporters that the plane was believed to have been over the Java Sea between Kalimantan and Java islands when contact was lost.
Search and rescue missions are underway under the control of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority.
AirAsia never lost a plane before. Just this year, however, Malaysia Airlines lost two planes. On March 8, Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board. On July 17, Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
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.