AirAsia Indonesia deploys search-and-rescue team after plane carrying 155 vanishes midflight

An AirAsia plane is seen on the runway at Kuala Lumpur International Airport

(Malay Mail Online) – Search and rescue operations have been deployed for AirAsia’s flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore, which lost contact with the Indonesia’s air traffic control today early morning today.

According to the budget carrier, Indonesia’s air traffic control had lost all communication with the Airbus A320-200 bearing the registration number PK-AXC at 7.24am (8.24am Malaysia time).

According to an unofficial manifest released on the Indonesian news network, Metro TV, the jetliner is ferrying 155 passengers — of which 138 are adults, 16 children, one baby and seven crew members.

The flight had departed from the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 5.20am today and was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 8.30am.

“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,” said the carrier in the statement posted on Facebook.

The carrier has established an Emergency Call Centre for family and friends of those who are on board the aircraft. The number to call is: +622129850801.

In a separate statement, AirAsia’s Indonesian operation said its plane was in the Indonesia Flight Information Region (FIR) when contact was lost, over 200 nautical miles southeast of the Singapore-Jakarta FIR border.

It added that Singapore’s civil aviation, air force and navy has offered to help in the search and rescue mission.

The airline said that it has set up a waiting area for the kith and kin of those aboard flight QZ8501, with all the necessary facilities and support on the third level of Terminal 2 in Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Indonesian media reported its Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa saying the aircraft lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6:17am, adding that the plane had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact.