World: AirAsia Indonesia flight to Singapore missing
An AirAsia Indonesia airliner flying from Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board has gone missing.
Flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control over the Java Sea.
The plane, an Airbus A320-200, disappeared midway into the flight of more than two hours from the city of Surabaya. No distress call was made.
Bad weather was reported in the area, and an air search operation has now been suspended for the night.
Planes from Indonesia and Singapore had been scouring an area of sea between Kalimantan and Java. Some boats were reported to be continuing to search as night fell.
No wreckage has been found, an Indonesian official told the BBC.
AirAsia’s Chief Executive Tony Fernandes, who has flown to Surabaya, said: “We don’t want to speculate but right now of course the plane has been missing for 12 hours and there’s a deep sense of depression here.”
The missing jet had requested a “deviation” from the flight path to avoid thick storm clouds, AirAsia said.
Indonesia’s transport ministry said the pilot had been given permission to climb to 38,000 feet.
Airport officials are keeping them well away from the media and trying to make them comfortable.
The scenes at Changi are reminiscent of those in Kuala Lumpur immediately after MH370 went missing in March: anxious relatives waiting for any news on their loves ones, a media frenzy, but no answers. (BBC)