AirAsia flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control at 7.24am yesterday. There were 162 people on board - 155 passengers, and 7 crew members. The plane was last seen between the Indonesian island of Belitung, and Pontianak in Borneo. There was bad weather over Belitung at the time.
- An AirAsia flight QZ8501 from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday at around 6:17 am local time.
- AirAsia has established an emergency call center. The number is +622129850801.
- Plane requested to deviation due to bad weather before contact was lost
- Plane is carrying 162 people - 155 Indonesian, three South Koreans, one French, one Malaysian, one Briton and one Singaporean.
Briton Choi Chi Man and his two-year-old daughter feared missing on the Air Asia plane was only on board because there was no room on an earlier flight, friends said. His wife and son flew on earlier flight.
Mr Choi, who is originally from Hull, Yorkshire, lives in Singapore but works in Indonesia where he is a unit managing director for electronic manufacturing firm Alstom Power.
An engineering graduate of Essex University, his parents still live in Hull, after emigrating from Hong Kong, and he is understood to have a brother and sister in the UK. - the Daily Telegraph
AirAsia,has been operating in Indonesia for 10 years, is 49% owned by Malaysia-listed AirAsia Bhd. The remaining stake is held by an Indonesia company that has 3 individuals as shareholders: Pin Harris with 20%, Senjaya Wijaya with 21% and a privately held entity PT Fersindo Nusaperkasa with 10%
The private company is believed to be linked to Riza Chalid, a tycoon said to have close links to Probowo Subbianto, who put up a strong challenge against Joko Widodo for the presidency post recently.
The incident caps a disastrous year for Malaysia-affiliated airlines.
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 went missing on March 8 on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board and has not been found.
On July 17, the same airline's Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
Experts compare disappearance to vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
Hours after the disappearance of QZ8501 aviation experts have begun comparing the incident with still-missing Malaysian Airlines MH370.
Like MH370, the AirAsia flight disappeared from radars and made no further communication with Air Traffic Control - not even an emergency “squawk”.
Yesterday aviation expert Peter Stuart Smith said it was strange that QZ8501 had made no further contact was made with Air traffic control.
“Even if we assume that the aircraft did encounter such incredibly adverse weather conditions that it broke up in midair or the conditions led to the pilots losing control, there are still a number of questions that need answering,” said Mr Smith.
“Obviously the first priority for the pilots is to fly the aircraft but relaying a message to Air Traffic Control (ATC) about what’s happening only involves depressing a single button on the control column and simply speaking.
“It would also only take a few seconds to squawk 7700 (emergency) on the SSR box which would alert ATC to there being a problem -although not what the problem was.”
Passenger who boarded Flight QZ8501 joked 'goodbye forever' to pal hours before plane vanished
The distraught friend, a man in his 20s, told Indonesia's TV One on Sunday: "This morning, before I went to pray, one of them called me and jokingly said: 'See you in the new year and goodbye forever'.
"That's all and then the bad news came."
The man said he had planned to go on the trip but cancelled it two weeks ago because he was busy.
"I have two friends who were with five family members," he said tearfully.
"Yes, I planned to spend (New Year's Day) in Singapore actually.
"I hope for a miracle and may God save them all.
"I should have gone with them but I cancelled it two weeks ago as I had something to do."
Full coverage: AirAsia's Flight QZ8501 Lost Contact
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