At 7:24AM (6:24PM Saturday EST time) on Sunday flight QZ8501 to Singapore disappeared. It was lost somewhere over the Java Sea. There was no distress signal sent. The flight was going from Indonesia to Singapore. It was halfway through its 2 hour flight when it lost contact with air traffic control. There were 162 people aboard the plane, including 7 crew members, 18 children, one being anÂ 1 infant. Search parties, have been scouring the areas of Borneo and the Java Sea, but bad weather conditions have hindered the search.Â No wreckage has been found yet. There is some speculation that the plane might be at the bottom of the Java Sea.
The pilot did ask for permission to deviate from the course due to bad weather.
Ministry official Djoko Murjatmodjo said the request “could not be approved at that time due to traffic, there was a flight above, and five minutes later [flight QZ8501] disappeared from radar”.
There is speculation that the pilot did try to ascend anyway to avoid thick storm cloud, but no one is sure what happened after he asked for permission. Strong, severe storms were reported in the area during the time the pilot requested permission.
The pilot of flight QZ8501Â has had over 20,500 flight hours with nearly 7,000 of those hours being with AirAsia.
The families of the 162 passengers are anxiously waiting to hear any word about the fate of their loved ones. There was a briefing for the families with airport officials at the airport in Surapaya, Indonesia. Officials are trying to keep the media away from the families while they await news and keep them as comfortable as possible.
As bad weather has hindered the search, but the weather looks like it will be good enough to continue the search today. With over 12 hours missing , officials are becoming more worried. This is the 3rd tragic loss for Asia aviation. Two other flights have been lost this year, flights MH307 and MH17. MH307 has never been recovered and MH17 was shot down over Ukraine with no survivors. There is no link between the 3 flight tragedies.