Sea searches have started Sunday mornings after the disappearance of an AirAsia Airbus A320-200. The flight was flying from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore, and lost contact with ground above the Java Sea, shortly after the pilot requested to change direction because of bad weather conditions.
On flight QZ8501 were 162 people, and the last contact they had with air traffic was Sunday morning at 7:24 am, local time. According to AirAsia when last hearing from it, the plane was located near Blitung Island in Indonesia. The landing time for Singapore was 8:30 local time.
The aircraft was following the flight plan, but at one point the pilot requested a deviation of flight because of extreme weather. That was the moment all contacts with air traffic were lost. Indonesian Air Traffic Control was in charge of the control, and had been in contact for 42 minutes before all signals were lost.
According to the Indonesian air transport director, the pilot wanted to avoid clouds and would have requested an increase of altitude from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet. Indonesian official said that at that time, in that area were reported thunderstorms with clouds reaching up to 50,000 feet. The flight tracking website Flighttrader24, showed that when the signal was lost, the aircraft was flying at its normal altitude of 32,000 feet.
“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,” said AirAsia.
The captain of the missing aircraft had a total of 6,100 flight hours and the first officer had 2,275 flight hours, said the airline. The last technical checking and maintenance of the aircraft had been done on November 16, 2014. The jet was carrying 155 passengers and 7 crew members. According to AirAsia, 156 passengers were Indonesian, three South Korean and three other passengers from Malaysia, Singapore and France. Among the passengers were 16 children and one infant.
Malaysia recorded two other plane incidents this year, Malaysia Airlines lost two jumbo jets, one was shot down when flying over Ukraine and another untraceably disappeared over the South China Sea.
Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said that it was informed about the disappearance of the plane, by Jakarta ground control, at about thirty minutes after contact was lost.
The aviation authority said that Singapore Air force and the navy are ready to start the searches along with the Indonesian authorities.
Image Source: World Airlines News
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