AirAsia Plane With 162 On Board Missing. JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An AirAsia plane with 162 people on board lost contact with ground control on Sunday while flying over the Java Sea after taking off from a provincial city in Indonesia for Singapore.
The two countries immediately launched a search and rescue operation but there was no word on the plane’s whereabouts more than six hours after it went missing.
“We don’t dare to pressume what has happened exceped that it has lost contact.” Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia’s acting director general of transportation, told reporters. He said the last contact between pilot and the air traffic control was at 6.13 a.m. (2313 GMT Saturday) “when he asked to hinder cloud by turning left and go higher to 34,000 feet.”
He said there was no distress signal from Flight QZ8501.
The contact was lost about 42 minutes after the single-aisle jetliner took off from Indonesia’s Surabaya airport, Hadi Mustofa, an official of the transportation ministry told Indonesia’s MetroTV. It was about an hour before it was scheduled to land in Singapore at 0030gmt.
Flight QZ8501 lost communication with Jakarta’s air traffic control at 7:24 a.m. Singapore time (2324 GMT Saturday) about an hour before it was scheduled to land in Singapore, the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement.
Murjatmodjo, the Indonesian official, said the plane is believed to have gone missing somewhere over the Java Sea between Tanjung Pandan on Belitung island and Pontianak, on Indonesia’s part of Kalimantan island.
This is the third major air incident involving Malaysia this year. On March 8, Malaysia Airlines flight 370, a wide-bodied Boeing 777, went missing soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. It remains missing until this day with 239 people in one of the biggest aviation mysteries. Another Malaysia Airlines flight, also a Boeing 777, was shot down over rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine while on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17. A total of 298 people on board were killed.