AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Missing: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Missing: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

An AirAsia passenger plane has lost contact with airport officials while flying from Indonesia to Singapore Sunday morning. Here’s what we know so far:

1. The Plane Lost Contact While Flying Over the Java Sea
AirAsia confirmed in a statement that the plane lost contact with air traffic control while flying over the Java Sea from Surbaya, Indonesia to Singapore at 7:24 a.m. local time — a little more than an hour before it was scheduled to land at 8:30 a.m.

The airline said it had “no further information” on the status of the crew and passengers of the plane, an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC.

2. Search & Rescue Operations Are ‘In Progress’
From AirAsia’s statement: At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service.

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. Shortly after releasing the statement, the airline changed its logo on its social media accounts from bright red to gray.

3. There Are 162 People on Board
AirAsia said in a statement that there were 155 passengers on board, along with two pilots and a five-member cabin crew. The nationalities of those on board are as follows, according to AirAsia:

1 Singapore
1 Malaysia
1 France
3 South Korean
156 Indonesia

AirAsia said the captain had 6,100 total flying hours and the first officer had a total of 2,275. The aviation journal Omni Flyers tweeted posted the flight’s manifest, which included 16 children, one infant and 23 no-shows.

4. The Plane Lost Contact Near Belitung Island
The plane’s last known location was near Belitung Island in the Java Sea. The plane took off form Surabaya, Indonesia and was scheduled to land in Singapore at 8:30 a.m. Sunday local time.

Aviation journalist John Walton tweeted that the plane is just over six years old.

5. The Pilot Requested an Alternate Route Because of Weather
AirAsia said that the pilot had requested an alternate route because of severe weather in the area.

From the airline’s statement: 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. It’s monsoon season in the region, and radar showed thunderstorms throughout the area during the time of the flight.

The unknown status of the plane comes five months after a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight was shot down by pro-Russian rebels over Eastern Ukraine and nine months after a different Malaysia Airlines flight went missing over the Indian Ocean and never surfaced.

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