According to CNN reports, AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 is still missing. The flight took off from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore and lost contact with air traffic control at 7:24 a.m. Sunday (7:24 p.m. Saturday ET).
“At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available,” AirAsia said in a statement. The plane was reported to have taken off with 162 passengers and crew on board, mainly Indonesians with 16 children and 1 infant, according to a CNN report.
The plane left Juanda International Airport at 5:27 a.m. Sunday (5:27 p.m. Saturday ET) and was meant to arrive in Singapore at 8:37 a.m. Sunday (7:37 p.m. ET), according to the website.
CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said Bad weather might be a factor in the plane’s disappearance “But keep in mind, turbulence doesn’t necessarily bring down airplanes,” said Van Dam. It was however reported that the pilot had requested a deviation in the route of the flight because of weather conditions before contact was lost with the plane.
AirAsia is a Malaysia-based airline that is popular in the region as a budget carrier. It has about 100 destinations, with subsidiaries in several Asian countries and has a “very good” reputation for safety, CNN reports.
The loss of contact with the AirAsia plane comes almost 10 months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which lost radar contat over Southeast Asia on March 8 and Searchers have still not found any debris from that flight, which officials believe may have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.
It was also reported that U.S. President Barack Obama has been briefed, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, and American officials will continue to monitor the situation.
Photo Credit: AFP file photo