Search resumes for missing AirAsia Indonesia passenger plane

Search resumes for missing AirAsia Indonesia passenger plane

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Originally published December 27, 2014

A massive air and sea rescue operation resumed Monday for a passenger jet almost a day after it lost contact with air traffic control while travelling from Indonesia to Singapore.

Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 with 162 people on board is presumed to have crashed. Its last known position was between Indonesia’s Belitung Island and Pontianak in Borneo.

The flight from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore took off just after 5:30 a.m. local time Sunday.

Less than an hour later, the pilot informed Indonesian air traffic control that he wanted to increase elevation from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet to better cope with bad weather ahead. At 6:16 a.m. air traffic control lost all contact with flight 8501.

AirAsia released a statement, saying “The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost.”

Flight 8501, an Airbus A320-200, was carrying 155 passengers and seven crew. Of those onboard 155 were Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. The co-pilot was French.

A search and rescue operation was underway involving planes and ships from Indonesia and Singapore. Malaysia, Australia, the US, Britain, South Korea and India have also volunteered to help the search effort.

Indonesia AirAsia has a fleet of 30 Airbus A320s. The missing plane has been in service for just over six years, and underwent routine maintenance in mid-November.

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