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AirAsia plane with 162 on board missing en route to Singapore

JAKARTA: An AirAsia plane with 162 people on board went missing en route from Indonesia to Singapore Sunday morning, officials and the Malaysian airline said.

“The AirAsia flight flying from Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with Jakarta at 7:55am (local time),” Indonesian transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata told AFP.

The Airbus A320-200 left Juanda international airport in Surabaya in east Java at 5:20am and was expected to arrive in Singapore at 8:30am (0030 GMT).

Indonesia’s air transportation director general, Djoko Murjatmodjo, told AFP the plane was carrying seven crew and 155 passengers — 138 adults, 16 children and a baby.

Malaysia-based AirAsia said a search and rescue operation was underway for Flight QZ8501.

“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,” the airline said. “At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service.” Singapore’s Civil Aviation Service said the plane lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control while it was in Indonesian air space.

“Search and rescue operations have been activated by the Indonesian authorities from the Pangkal Pinang Search and Rescue office,” it said, adding that Singapore’s navy and air force had offered their help. – AFP

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