An AirAsia passenger jet carrying 162 people lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control early Sunday, gripping Southeast Asia with a second missing plane crisis in less than a year.
The search operation for the missing AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 has been halted for the night, but big ships won’t return to shore and will leave their searchlights on, according to the Indonesian Transportation Ministry.
Before communication was lost, a pilot on AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 asked to deviate from its planned route — from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore — because of bad weather, officials said.
The aircraft went missing as it flew over the Java Sea between the islands of Belitung and Borneo, according to Indonesian authorities, who are leading the search and rescue operations.
Of the people on board the Airbus A320-200, 155 are Indonesian, three are South Korean, one is British, one is French, one is Malaysian and one is Singaporean, the airline said.