In the third air incident connected to Malaysia this year, an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board went missing on Sunday while flying over the Java Sea after taking off from a provincial city in Indonesia for Singapore.
Search and rescue operations are currently underway for an AirAsia plane that vanished after departing Surabaya, Indonesia, for Singapore early Sunday. According to the reports, AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 asked to deviate from its planned flight route before communication was lost.
Flight QZ 8501 was due to land at Singapore’s Changi Airport at 8.30 a.m. local time but lost contact in Indonesian airspace at around 7.24 a.m. Flight 8501 “was requesting deviation due to en route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost.
The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation said that the plane had contacted Jakarta Air Traffic Control at 6.12am, and lost contact at 6.17am.
“We don’t dare to presume what has happened except that it has lost contact,” Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia’s acting director general of transportation, told a press conference. “We don’t dare to presume what has happened except that it has lost contact.”
He said the last communication between the pilot and air traffic control was at 6.13 a.m. (2313 GMT Saturday) when the pilot “asked to avoid clouds by turning left and going higher to 34,000 feet.”
The six-year-old aircraft was requesting deviation from its submitted flight plan due to bad weather before communication was lost with Indonesian Air Traffic Control, AirAsia said in a statement. “At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service,” it said.
Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa Djuraid told Singapore’s Metro TV that contact was lost somewhere over the Java Sea between Indonesia’s Kalimantan portion of Borneo and Belitung island off the eastern coast of Sumatra.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also expressed concern via twitter, “Saddened to hear of missing flight #QZ8501. My thoughts are with the passengers and their families. – LHL”