Authorities Suspend Airborne Search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501

 - December 28, 2014, 8:29 AM
An AirAsia Indonesia Airbus A320 went missing on the morning of December 28 during a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia, and Singapore. (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons (BY-SA) by Kentaro IEMOTO@Tokyo)

Indonesian authorities curtailed the search for AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 on Sunday as darkness fell in the region covering the flight path between Surabaya, Indonesia, and Singapore. Jakarta air traffic control lost contact with the Airbus A320-200 at 7:24 a.m. local time after pilots asked to change course and increase altitude in an effort to avoid bad weather during the scheduled flight carrying 155 passengers and seven crewmembers. The flight took off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 5:35 a.m. The pilots of the flight did not declare an emergency before ATC lost contact nearly two hours later.

At 8 p.m. local time ships with large searchlights continued a limited nighttime search of the waters of the Java Sea, roughly midway between Surabaya and Singapore. The CFM56-5B-powered airplane, delivered in October 2008 and registered as PK-AXC, had accumulated some 23,000 hours during 13,600 flights, according to Airbus.

The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on November 16, 2014, according to an AirAsia statement.