What a scary time.
AirAsia flight QZ8501 was headed from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore on Sunday, but has since gone missing 40 minutes after it took off. The last contact that they had with the aircraft was off the coast of Borneo, though the reported times of the last contact are not consistent. One official said 6:17am Jakarta time was the last contact, while Singapore authorities said it was 6:24am.
The search for the plane was suspended once night fell in the region, due to stormy conditions, and it's expected to pick back up on Monday morning.
In the search, Indonesia sent three warships, maybe more, and five planes, while Malaysia sent three boats and three planes, Singapore sent a C-130 plane, and Australia extended an offer to also send boats and planes as well. The search is taking place on a 100-mile stretch of ocean in the Java Sea, between Borneo and Sumatra.
Aboard the plane were 162 people. 155 people are Indonesian, three are South Korean, one is from Singapore, one is from Malaysia, one is a Briton and the solitary French citizen is believed to be the pilot. 16 of the passengers were kids, one was an infant, and five people were crew members.
The plane, had requested to fly up to 38,000 feet from 32,000 feet to avoid a cloud, but the request was denied because of traffic. However, their request to deviate from the flight path was approved. There were also reports of a record number of lightning strikes in the area, though, while strikes reportedly can disable systems and disorient pilots, they normally won't take down a plane. There were six other planes in the air near flight QZ8501 when it went down. Also, even if there were engine issues, this type of plane is built to fly for three hours even with only one engine.
The emergency beacon was never triggered, and AirAsia has a great safety record in the past.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those aboard the flight.
[Image via New York Times.]
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