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Missing Air Asia flight QZ8501: What we know so far

Indonesia has confirmed that search and rescue efforts for the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 has been suspended due to poor light and weather conditions.

The plane was flying from Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday morning (Dec 28) when it lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control at 6.17 am. 

No distress signal was sent out before the plane lost contact with the Indonesian air traffic control. 

According to the Indonesian Transport Minister, Ingnasius Jonan, search and rescue efforts have been concentrated around the the Kalimantan-Tanjung Pandan area, the last known whereabouts of the plane before it lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control.

The search and rescue efforts will resume at 7am on Monday (Dec 29), or even earlier if the weather is good.

Earlier in the day, a statement released by Singapore's  Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that Indonesia had accepted Singapore's offer to assist in the search and rescue efforts.

A C-130 aircraft was launched to assist in the efforts. Two C-130 aircraft will join the search operations on Monday morning. 

 


Photo: Reuters Graphic

Shortly before disappearing, AirAsia said the plane had asked permission from Jakarta air traffic control to deviate from its flight plan and climb above bad weather in an area noted for severe thunderstorm.

The Airbus 320-200 airplane is carrying 162 people on board.

Of those, 155 are from Indonesia, three from South Korea, one each from Singapore, Malaysia, Britain and France.

Channel NewsAsia reported that the only Singaporean is a two-year-old girl who was traveling to Singapore with her British father.

Throughout the day, family members of the passengers onboard the flight arrived at Changi Airport to be briefed by Changi Airport Group in a holding room away from the media.

 

Changi Airport Group (CAG) released a statement saying that as of 6.30pm on Sunday (Dec 28), 47 relatives and friends had registered at the T2 holding area, and that arrangements have been made for either local accommodation or travel to Indonesia

 Statement from Changi Airport Group:

As of this update, 47 relatives and friends of 57 passengers on board Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 have registered at Singapore Changi Airport’s Relatives’ Holding Area (RHA) at Terminal 2.

Help and support are being provided to them at the RHA by 36 Changi Airport Group (CAG) care officers and four counsellors from the Ministry of Social and Family Development. Other staff from CAG, AirAsia and airport partners, as well as officials from the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Singapore, have also been present to assist.

Arrangements for local accommodation or for travel to Indonesia have been made for the next-of-kin.

The thoughts and concerns of CAG and the Changi Airport community are with the passengers of QZ8501, their families and friends. *In response to media queries, three Indonesia Air Asia flights were retimed today.

Later, CAG said that 16 next-of-kin would fly to Surabaya on Sunday night itself.

The others have either retired for the night at home or in a hotel. 

Follow our live blog here for developments on the story. 

Source: Reuters, AFP, Twitter

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