JAKARTA, Indonesia – (UPDATED) AirAsia flight QZ 8501 on a routine flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore went missing early Sunday, December 28, the airline said, with a total of 162 people on board. On Tuesday, December 30, Indonesian search teams spotted debris and bodies off the coast of Indonesia believed to be from the AirAsia plane.
This is what we know so far:
- AirAsia Indonesia-Singapore flight QZ 8501 went missing “at 07:24hrs (Sunday) morning,” AirAsia initially announced, using GMT+8. But Indonesian Transport Ministry officials later said it lost contact a few minutes before that, at 6:17 am (GMT+7).
- The pilot asked to ‘deviate’ due to bad weather. “Last contact was with the Jakarta tower, pilot requested permission to avoid clouds and fly to 38,000 feet,” Transport Ministry official Djoko Murdjatmodjo said. “The plane is in good condition but the weather is not so good.”
The flight had 155 passengers, including 17 children and 1 infant, plus 7 crew members (two pilots, an engineer, and 4 flight attendants): 155 Indonesians, 3 South Koreans, 1 Malaysian, 1 British, 1 French, 1 Singaporean. The complete passenger manifest released by the Indonesian Transportation Ministry includes 23 names who did not check in for the flight.
- Search and rescue operations led by the Indonesian military and SAR teams of Indonesia and Singapore are focused on an area between Belitung island and Kalimantan, the plane’s last known position.
- Bodies and debris were found on Tuesday, December 30 around 160 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of the town of Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan on Borneo island. As of this posting, at least 3 bodies have been recovered by the Indonesian military. An earlier official report said 40 bodies were found but this was later corrected by the Indonesian government.
- Relatives of people on board learned about the discovery of the debris at a holding room of the Surabaya Airport. Many are distraught and some faint from the news and are rushed to the hospital.
- Messages of support and prayers for the passengers and their families are coming in from all over the world.
- People who have relatives on board can contact relevant authorities through the information listed here: AirAsia QZ8501: Emergency information
- FAST FACTS: AirAsia has no major accident or plane crash on record, up until the disappearance of flight QZ8501 on Sunday
- Q and A: What happened to AirAsia flight QZ8501? From weather to similar plane mysteries, aviation experts answer questions on the disappearance of AirAsia flight QZ8501
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