An AirAsia flight traveling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore with 162 people on board lost contact with air traffic control early Sunday morning, the airline confirmed. Flight QZ 8501 -- an Airbus 320-200 -- lost communication with Indonesia's Surabaya Juanda International Airport at 7:24 Singapore time on Sunday morning, the airline said.
A statement from AirAsia on Facebook said the pilot had requested a deviation after encountering bad weather. Following this, the aircraft went missing.
According to the statement, the aircraft was on its planned route when it requested deviation due to "enroute weather." Subsequently "communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC)."
No distress signal had been sent, said Joko Muryo Atmodjo, air transportation director at the Indonesian transport ministry.
Two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer were on board the flight when it took off Sunday morning.
"The captain in command had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours," according to the statement. "There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant."
The passengers and crew include 156 Indonesians, 3 South Koreans, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia, and France. In a later update, AirAsia corrected the information, saying that there was one British passenger in the flight as well, and 155 Indonesians.
Search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The airlines confirmed that the aircraft had last undergone maintenance more than a month ago on November 16.
(with agency input)