Indonesia has suspended the search for a missing AirAsia plane that disappeared in bad weather en route from Indonesia to Singapore, in the third crisis for a Malaysian carrier this year. The search halted at 5.30pm on Sunday (1030 GMT) as night fell, but would resume at 7am on Monday, or even earlier if the weather was good, Indonesian transport ministry official Hadi Mustofa said. The Airbus A320-200, carrying 162 people, went missing after air traffic controllers lost contact with the twin-engine aircraft around an hour after it left Juanda international airport at Surabaya in East Java at 5:20am on Sunday (2220 GMT Saturday).
Shortly before disappearing, AirAsia said pilots of the plane had asked permission from Jakarta air traffic control to change course and climb above bad weather in an area noted for severe thunderstorms. The airline, giving a revised breakdown of nationalities, said 155 of those on board Flight QZ8501 were Indonesians, with three South Koreans and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia, Britain and France. Sixteen of those on board were children and one was an infant.