A flight reportedly carrying 162 people on board — 155 passengers plus 7 crew has disappeared from radar, and its location is currently unknown. Air Asia flight 8501 had taken off from Surabaya and was heading to Singapore Sunday morning when it disappeared from radar at 7:24AM. Bad weather may have been a factor.
The plane went missing about two hours ago, and now at least one source is reporting that possible wreckage may have been found, sourced to a Chinese twitter account.
Air Asia has released a statement within the past few minutes, reading:
AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 (Surabaya LT) this morning. The flight took off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 0535hours.
The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on board.
The captain in command had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours
There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew.
Nationalities of passengers and crew onboard are as below:
3 South Korean
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC).
The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on 16 November 2014.
AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801.
AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, www.airasia.com.
Updates will be made to this story as more details become known and confirmed.
UPDATE: 12:51AM EST: The plane's last known communication was reportedly from the pilot, asking to change altitude due to bad weather.
Radar image of the weather in the area of the plane's last-known location.
UPDATE 10:35AM EST — AirAsia issued the following statement:
Earlier in Surabaya, the management of AirAsia along with the Governor of East Java, National Search and Rescue Agency of Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS), Airport Authority of Indonesia, Airport Operator (Angkasa Pura I) met with the members of the families to update them on the latest developments and reconfirmed their commitment to providing assistance in every possible way.
Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO of AirAsia Indonesia said, "We are deeply shocked and saddened by this incident. We are cooperating with the relevant authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident. In the meantime, our main priority is keeping the families of our passengers and colleagues informed on the latest developments."
"We will do everything possible to support them as the investigation continues and have already mobilized a support team to help take care of their immediate needs, including accommodation and travel arrangements. A briefing center has also been set up in Surabaya for the families."
For the families in Singapore, there is also an emergency briefing room at Changi International Airport Terminal Two, where AirAsia Indonesia will be providing regular updates.
We have also established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for those seeking information about relatives or friends who may have been on board the flight. The number is +622129270811.
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted, under the guidance of National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS). AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew and one engineer on board.
The captain in command had a total of 20,537 flying hours of which, 6,100 flying hours were with AirAsia Indonesia on the Airbus A320. The first office officer had a total of 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia.
We will release further information as soon as it becomes available and our thoughts and prayers are with those on board QZ8501.
Top Image: AirAsia A320 PK-AXC, the actual aircraft that went missing. (AeroIcarus / Flickr)
Paul Thompson is a aviation journalist with over 13 years of experience working in the airline industry, who maintains the website Flight Club for Jalopnik.com. You can contact Paul to submit story ideas, your own "Plane Porn" photos, and comments regarding this or any other aviation topic via email at paul@Jalopnik.com. You can also follow Flight Club on Twitter: @flightclubnews