CNN and MSNBC preempted their regularly scheduled Sunday programming during the 11 a.m. ET hour to cover missing AirAsia Flight 8501. Fox News stuck with “#MediaBuzz” with Howard Kurtz but broke in several times with live news alerts on the jetliner.
The Airbus A320-200 with 162 people on board was on its way to Singapore from Surabaya city in Indonesia, when it lost contact with air traffic control at 7:24 a.m. local time (late Saturday night in the U.S.), AirAsia wrote in a statement on its Facebook page.
The jetliner was carrying 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant, plus seven crew members when it vanished at 38,000 feet over the Java Sea, according to the Indonesian Transportation Ministry. There were two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on the jet, AirAsia said.
Of the people on board, 156 are from Indonesia, three are South Korean, one is British, one is French, one is Malaysian and one is from Singapore, according to the airline. There were no Americans on the plane.
Before the aircraft disappeared, one of the pilots asked for permission to fly at a higher altitude because of stormy weather, officials said.
After several hours, the search for the jetliner was called off because of nightfall and was set to resume Monday.
It was the second time this year that a passenger plane has gone missing in Asia.
On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished without a trace over the South China Sea. The jetliner with 239 people on board still has not been found.
Below is the full statement from AirAsia:
AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 (Surabaya LT) this morning. The flight took off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 0535hours.
The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on board.
The captain in command had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours
There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew.
Nationalities of passengers and crew onboard are as below:
3 South Korean
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
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.
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: +622129270811.
AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, www.airasia.com.