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August 19, 2022, 4:57 am

AirAsia QZ8501: Indonesia plane search resumes

(11:10:23 AM 29/12/2014)
( - The search has resumed for AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501, a day after it went missing with 162 people on board.


Indonesia plane, AirAsia Indonesia flight, disappeared

The Airbus, pictured here on an earlier flight, disappeared about an hour after takeoff


A commander at Surabaya air force base in Indonesia said that visibility in the search area was good.


The Airbus A320-200 disappeared over the Java Sea early on Sunday en route to Singapore from Surabaya.


The pilots had requested a course change due to bad weather but did not send any distress call before the plane disappeared from radar screens.


"God willing, we can find it soon," said First Admiral Sigit Setiayana at the Surabaya air force base.


Sunday's search was largely suspended as night fell.


Although some ships continued the hunt overnight, the main search planes and vessels, from several nations, resumed at first light on Monday.


Indonesian transport ministry official Tatang Kurniadi said: "Our primary task is to find the plane. We are co-operating with every possible department, and relevant countries.



Indonesia plane, AirAsia Indonesia flight, disappeared

"This includes the department responsible for aircraft design, the aircraft manufacturer from France, and relevant operational teams from AirAsia and Malaysia."


Bambang Soelistyo, the head of the Indonesian search and rescue team, said his nation was providing 12 ships, three helicopters and five military aircraft.


Malaysia was to deploy a C-130 plane, along with three ships, with Singapore lending a C-130 and Australia also providing help.


The search area is near Belitung island.


AirAsia's share price fell 7% in morning trading on Monday in Kuala Lumpur.


Storm clouds


Flight QZ8501 had left Surabaya in eastern Java at 05:35 local time on Sunday (22:35 GMT Saturday) and was due to arrive in Singapore at 08:30 (00:30 GMT).


Last contact was at 06:24 local time.


Dense storm clouds were reported in the area at the time the plane lost contact.


The pilot had asked permission to climb to 38,000ft (11,000m) to avoid the clouds.


Indonesian officials said the request could not be immediately approved due to traffic, but the plane disappeared from the radar screens before the pilots gave any further response.


AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes said this was his "worst nightmare".


Mr Fernandes flew to Surabaya and later said: "We are very devastated by what's happened, it's unbelievable.


"Our concern right now is for the relatives and for the next of kin - there is nothing more important to us, for our crew's family, and for the passengers' families."



Indonesia plane, AirAsia Indonesia flight, disappeared

Relatives pored over passenger manifests at both affected airports


Oceanographer Simon Boxall told the BBC the plane should not be too difficult to find if it went into the water.


The sea floor is within diver depth, he says, and it would be "likely that they'll get answers within a few days".


Difficult year


The AirAsia Indonesia plane in question was delivered in 2008, has flown 13,600 times, completing 23,000 hours, and underwent its last maintenance on 16 November.


The captain, Iriyanto, had more than 20,500 flight hours, almost 7,000 of them with AirAsia, Mr Fernandes said. The co-pilot is French national Remi Emmanuel Plesel.


The AirAsia group has previously had no fatal accidents involving its aircraft.


AirAsia has set up an emergency line for family or friends of those who may be on board. The number is +622 129 850 801.


Special centres were set up at both Singapore's Changi airport and Juanda international airport in Surabaya.


There were 155 passengers on board, the company said in a statement:


•    137 adults, 17 children and one infant


•    Most were Indonesian but several were from other countries: one UK national, a Malaysian, a Singaporean and three South Koreans


•    The BBC understands that the British national is Chi-Man Choi


•    Two pilots and five crew were also on board - one French, the others Indonesian


This has been a difficult year for aviation in Asia: Malaysia's national carrier Malaysia Airlines has suffered two losses - flights MH370 and MH17.


Flight MH370 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March with 239 passengers and crew. The wreckage, thought to be in southern Indian Ocean, has still not been located.


MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July, killing all 298 on board.


Source: BBC

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