AirAsia Plane Goes Missing With 162 Passengers Onboard

A jet flying from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore with 162 people aboard lost contact with air traffic control about an hour before it was to land and is missing, AirAsia Indonesia officials said Sunday.

Flight QZ8501 took off at about 5:35 a.m. Sunday local time from Juanda International Airport and lost contact with air traffic control at about 7:24 a.m., , the airline said on its Facebook page. The time in Surabaya is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time; Singapore is 13 hours ahead of ET.

The crew of the Airbus A320-200 included two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer, according to flight documents.

The captain, identified in those documents as Capt. Iriyanto, had a total of 6,100 flying hours. The first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours, said AirAsia, a low-cost regional airline, based in Sepang, Malaysia, near Kuala Lumpur.

The airline said the plane carried 155 passengers, including 138 adults, 16 children and an infant. Most of the passengers are Indonesian nationals, but the airline also identified one passenger from Singapore, one passenger from Malaysia, one passenger from France and three from South Korea.

The contact was lost about 42 minutes after takeoff from Surabaya airport, Hadi Mustofa, an official of the transportation ministry told Indonesia’s MetroTV.

The pilot had asked air traffic control for a deviation to the flight plan because of weather before Indonesian Air Traffic Control lost contact, Air Asia said.

The plane lost contact when it was believed to be over the Java Sea between Kalimantan and Java islands, Mustofa said. The weather in the area was cloudy.

Media on Belitung island, about halfway between Surabaya and Singapore, are reporting that authorities have found the wreckage.

The Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC had its last scheduled maintenance Nov. 16, airline officials said. Search and rescue operations are under way.

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