AirAsia jet with 162 on board goes missing on way to Singapore
The search is on for an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people that lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control Sunday.
Before communication was lost, AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 asked to deviate from its planned flight route -- from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore -- because of weather conditions, AirAsia said in a statement.
There was conflicting information about when exactly Flight 8501 went missing. AirAsia said contact was lost at 7:24 a.m. Sunday (7:24 p.m. Saturday ET), but Indonesian aviation authorities said it happened earlier, at 6:17 a.m.
"At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of the Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority," AirAsia said.
Of the people on board the Airbus A320-200, 156 are Indonesian, three are South Korean, one is French, one is Malaysian and one is Singaporean, the airline said.
Seventeen children, including one infant, are among the passengers, the carrier said. Seven of the people on board are crew members.
"Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. we must stay strong," AirAsia Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said on Twitter. He later announced he was traveling to Surabaya, saying most of the passengers are from there.
As word spread of the missing plane, the airline changed the color of its logo on its social media accounts from red to gray.