AirAsia plane missing lost contact with air traffic control as it flew over the Java Sea shortly after its pilots asked for a flight plan change because of the gloomy weather. Sadly, it is also because of the climate that the search and rescue operation for the jet had to be suspended on Sunday.
According to Indonesian transport officials, the attempts to find the AirAsia plane missing will resume on Monday morning.
The AirAsia Flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control, which was situated in Jakarta, Indonesia, at 7:24 a.m. on Sunday local time. Based on the investigation, officials started to lose contact with the plane when it neared Belitung Island, shortly after it left Surabaya.
According to the statements made by Djoko Murjatmodjo, the Indonesian Air Transport Director, on Sunday's news conference, the flight, which carried at least 161 passengers, was originally scheduled to land in Singapore by 8:57 a.m. local time.
Murjatmodjo added that there were teams that were immediately launched to search the sea as well as the surrounding mountains for the AirAsia plane missing. He also mentioned that the plane was already several hours past the time when its fuel would have been consumed.
Although the bad weather may have played a massive role in this latest event, many questions still remain unanswered. Col. Stephen Ganyard, the consultant of ABC News, said, "We're looking for clues and at this point, there are very few clues."
Flight QZ8501 was actually on its submitted flight plan. However, because of the en-route weather, the pilot requested for a deviation. Murjatmodjo also mentioned that the pilot asked to have an increase of flight altitude to 38,000 feet from 32,000 feet in order to "avoid clouds." This was the last communication that the pilot had with air control before the aircraft went missing.
Despite the request, though, it would be speculated that the plane still met massive clouds at the requested altitude since thunderstorms were still reported in the area up to 50,000 feet. Ground control might have approved the pilot's request to deviate in its route, but Murjatmodjo said that raising elevation was not approved before contact was lost.
AirAsia plane missing was in the air for 42 minutes when contact was lost.
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