News

Search mission for AirAsia QZ8501 halts overnight

The search for AirAsia flight QZ 8501 was halted due to bad light at 5:30pm (9:30pm AEDT) Sunday night, Indonesian authorities said.

"We ended at 5:30 pm (9:30pm AEDT) because it was getting dark. The weather was also not too good as it was getting really cloudy," Indonesian Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa told AFP on Sunday night.

“Tomorrow we will begin at 7:00am, or even earlier than that if the weather is good.”

The AirAsia flight QZ 8501 lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower just after 6am local time on its flight from Indonesia to Singapore.

A search and rescue operation was launched following its disappearance, which came after the pilot requested permission to change the height from 32,000 to 34,000 feet in the Kumai Strait near Belitung due to bad weather, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Just five minutes later, the tower in Jakarta lost contact with the aircraft, and a minute after that the plane had vanished from the radar.

The company stated that the Airbus A320-200 was carrying 162 people on board, including 16 children, an infant, two pilots and seven cabin crew, according to SMH.

The flight, en route to Singapore from Surabaya in Indonesia, was scheduled to arrive at 8.30am Singapore time, or 11.30am AEDST, however lost contact with Jakarta tower at 6:17am, and was officially reported missing at 7:55am Indonesian time.

It is believed at this time the plane would be over the Java Sea between Kalimantan and Java islands.

As a press conference, Indonesia's Minister for Transport, Ignasius Jonan, said the flight went missing between Tanjung Pandan and Pontianak, and was not far from the shoreline at the time it last made contact.

The search began where the aircraft went missing and intends to expand wider until something is found.

Search and rescue agencies were on the move from Singapore and civilian shipping was asked to provide any information if they saw anything, SMH reported.

The Minister of Transport also stated that hourly updates would be released with any new information that arises.

Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla was reported by SMH announcing that there was a "high possibility that an accident has happened".

However, the head of Indonesia's national search and rescue agency Basarnas’, FHB Soelistyo, commented that Indonesia’s technology was largely unreliable, with sonars on their boats only reaching depths of around 200 metres.

Soelistyo said a command centre would be set up by 6am Monday in Pangkal Pinang, on one side of the Karimata Strait, the location where the plane was when it disappeared from radars, according to SMH.

Australia has offered to help Indonesia in the mission to find QZ 8501, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop saying she had made “personal contact” with Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi following the disappearance of the plane.

"I have expressed our deep concerns for the passengers and crew on board that flight and our thoughts and prayers are with their families," she told reporters in Adelaide.

"It's always deeply concerning when you hear news such as this…we hope and pray that there will be survivors."

No Australians appear to have been on the flight, with Bishop saying she was seeking the flight manifest to check there were no dual Australian citizens or permanent residents on the flight.

An Emergency Call Centre has been established by AirAsia that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft.

The number is +622129850801.

"airasia.jpg"

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Comments are closed.

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu is slinging free flights to Japan!

Who doesn’t love free airfares? Seriously though, point them out to us, we’d like to have a chat with them and find out what their problem is.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AFTA’s Resilient Mind program yields huge results

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has shared results from its Resilient Mind Program, revealing huge improvements in mental […]

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Club Med gets into the gift card game

This Christmas, your clients can treat friends and family with the gift of a much-needed holiday AND give you a tidy commission in one go!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Bombshells emerge over Western Sydney Airport land deal, as AFP investigates

The stench around the ‘Leppington Triangle’ deal, which saw taxpayers fork out 10 times what the land was valued as, is getting worse by the day.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Australia’s incoming passenger cards to get the chop

Are you one of those people who never seems to have a pen handy to fill out the incoming passenger card post-flight? Rejoice here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airline embroiled in website scam duping travellers with fake tickets

Have you purchased some too-good-to-be-true-airfares for your clients recently? You might want to read this.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Fiji’s CEO to exit

After four-and-a-half years at the helm, Matt Stoeckel is saying ‘ni sa moce’ to Tourism Fiji.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Financial reporting and AGM pressure eases for Virgin Australia

The embattled airline has also launched a 20th birthday sale, with fares from just $69, along with a bunch of cheap tickets to and from Melbourne.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Canadian tourist sends “cursed” artefacts back to Pompeii

by Ali Coulton

A travel agent in Italy has received a peculiar package containing “cursed” ancient ruins and a letter of confession.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

New data reveals most popular rental car brands around the world

Ever wondered what the most popular rental car brand is in Latvia? Well, today is your lucky day because we’ve got the answer right here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

APT takes to the skies with ‘Private Air Tours’

Just like trackpants, Birkenstocks and sourdough baking, it seems privately chartered flights are all the rage right now.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Azamara grows local presence and announces 2021 European cruises

The boutique cruise line has tripled the size of its local sales team with a slew of new appointments, as well as revealing its new restart date.

Share

CommentComments