The search is on for AirAsia Flight 8501, which lost contact with air traffic control in Indonesia. According to AirAsia, Flight QZ 8501 from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control at 7:24 a.m. Sunday (7:24 p.m. Saturday ET).
“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,” AirAsia said in a statement.
The plane took off with 155 passengers and crew on board. The flight, an Airbus A320-200, was on its way from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore.
The plane left Juanda International Airport at 5:27 a.m. Sunday (5:27 p.m. Saturday ET) and was due to arrive in Singapore at 8:37 a.m. Sunday (7:37 p.m. ET).
Bad weather might have been a factor in the plane’s disappearance, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.
“We still had lines of very heavy thunderstorms” when the plane was flying, Van Dam said. “But keep in mind, turbulence doesn’t necessarily bring down airplanes.”
AirAsia is a Malaysia-based airline that is popular in the region as a budget carrier. It has about 100 destinations, with subsidiaries in several Asian countries.
However, The airline has a “very good” reputation for safety.
The loss of contact with the AirAsia plane comes nearly 10 months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which dropped off radar over Southeast Asia on March 8.
Searchers are yet to find any debris from Flight 370, which officials believe crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. U.S. President Barack Obama has been briefed, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, adding that American officials will continue to monitor the situation.
Here is a statement by AirAsia released this morning
The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on board.
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
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). AirAsia Indonesia 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 (ATC).
The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on 16 November 2014.