The flight carrier AirAsia has confirmed that a passenger jet carrying 155 passengers and 7 crew members went missing on Sunday morning amidst heavy storms over the Java Sea. Originating in Surabaya, Indonesia, flight number QZ8501 was en route to Singapore when it ceased communication with air traffic controllers around 7:24 a.m. Western Indonesian Time.
A statement provided by Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry suggested that turbulent weather may have affected the plane’s navigation controls during the flight:
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) December 28, 2014
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) December 28, 2014
— James Reynolds (@EarthUncutTV) December 28, 2014
The captain in command had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours.
There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew.
Nationalities of passengers and crew onboard are as below:
3 South Korean
Update, 8:00 a.m.: Three Indonesian and two Singaporean aircraft were dispatched to the area near Belitung Island, in the Java Sea, where Flight 8501 went missing in a search and rescue mission coordinated by the Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority. The search was suspended overnight, although the Associated Press reports "some boats" are still looking.
Relatives of passengers on the plane gathered in a room at Surabaya airport, waiting to hear any information about their family and friends. "It is most possible that it has experienced an accident," Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla told the AP.
Photo credit: Associated Press