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Monday, December 29, 2014

AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Loses Contact with Air Traffic Control

Image courtesy of


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.

AirAsia, a regional low-cost carrier with presence in several Southeast Asian countries, said in a statement that the missing Airbus A320-200 was on the submitted flight plan route. However, it had requested deviation due to weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control.

"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 reporters. He said the last contact between pilot and the air traffic control was at 6.13 a.m. "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.

Air tracking service Flight Radar 24 tweeted this image showing AirAsia Flight QZ8501's last known location. 
Image courtesy of Twitter: @Flightradar24

The plane had two pilots, five cabin crew and 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant, AirAsia Indonesia said in a statement. Indonesian officials had earlier said there were 161 people on board, presumably because the infant was not counted.

The AirAsia statement said there were six foreigners — three South Koreans and one each from Singapore, Malaysia and France. The rest were Indonesians.

It said the captain in command had a total of 6,100 flying hours, a substantial number, and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours.

Pilot requested change in altitude

At Surabaya airport, dozens of relatives sat in a room, many of them talking on mobile phones and crying. Some looked dazed.

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.

He said the pilot contacted Jakarta air traffic control 6:12 a.m. reporting clouds and asking to go higher from 9,700 metres (32,000 feet) to 10,303 metres (34,000 feet), the usual cruising altitude for jetliners.

The Singapore statement said search and rescue operations have been activated by the Indonesian authorities. It said the Singapore air force and the navy also were searching with two C-130 planes.

Relatives of the passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 comfort each other at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. 
Image courtesy of Trisnadi/Associated Press

'We have to reserve judgment'

Flightradar24, a flight tracking website, said the plane was delivered in September 2008, which would make it six years old.

The Malaysia-based AirAsia, which has dominated cheap travel in the region for years, has never lost a plane before. AirAsia Malaysia owns 49 per cent of the Indonesian subsidiary.

A Changi Airport staff holds up a sign to direct possible next-of-kins of passengers of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 from Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, at Changi Airport in Singapore December 28, 2014. 
Image courtesy of Edgar Su/Reuters

This is the third major air incident for Southeast Asia 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.

The crew's request for an unusual route is curious since the weather "didn't seem to be anything unusual," said William Waldock, an expert on air crash search and rescue with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

Severe weather is the reason pilots usually request a different route, but in this case the "winds were light, there were a few thin clouds, but that's about it," he said in an interview.

Waldock cautioned against drawing comparisons to the disappearance of Malaysia flight 370.

"I think we have to let this play out," he said. "Hopefully, the airplane will get found, and if that happens it will probably be in the next few hours. Until then, we have to reserve judgment."

The circumstances bode well for finding the plane since the intended flight time was less than two hours and there is a known position at which the plane disappeared, he said.


  1. omg again? what happened with these asian airlines?

  2. di kaya may humihigop duon sa itaas tapos mapupunta ka sa outer space...pangalawa na itong nawawala. grabe naman.

  3. My sympathy to all family

  4. This is so sad 😞

  5. let's pray for them.

    bakit parang may galit sa Malaysia?

  6. our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the passengers.

  7. panglima na yata iyan na nawala o may trahedyang nangyari ngayong taon. may sumpa yata ang airline industry this 2014. humabol pa bago magsara ang taon! and malaysian airline din pala ang air asia ah tulad ng MAS.

    1. Wag kang oa. Nagbasa ka ba? It happened thrice pa lang for this year.

    2. wag lang kasi yung nagtrending ang alam 1:58AM.

    3. yung nawalang eroplano ng malaysia, tapos ito... ano pa ba ang ibang nawala?

    4. di marunong umintindi si 1:58. ang sabi kasi: This is the third major air incident for Southeast Asia this year.

      for southeast asia yung sinasabing tatlo. so it doesn't mean na thrice lang nangyari. isinama ni 1:11 yung dalawa pa, so tamang lima nga. comprehension!

    5. 11:30AM, kung di man nawala, nag-crash. 2MAS flights, 1 air asia flight and then flights GE222 and AH5017 pa.

  8. 2014 ang daming planes na nawala.

  9. My friend from Singapore told me that the plane landed safely somewhere.

    1. Anong sinasabi mo teh eh hindi pa nga nakikita

  10. may flight pa naman kami na air asia din.. scary

    1. Sus! Magdasal teh.. I fly with AirAsia ng madaming beses wala namang issues. Imbes na matakot ka, manalig ka magdasal ka. Have faith!

  11. Galing nmn ng frend mo..daig pa ang CNN. Hnd pa nahahanap yng plane. Get ur facts right bago nagpopost para hnd nalilito mga readers

    1. Sorry, you're right. My apologies. Let's all pray it's true.



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