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At least 155 aboard missing plane from Indonesia to Singapore

At least 155 aboard missing plane from Indonesia to Singapore

An Indonesia AirAsia commercial flight to Singapore was missing Sunday with
at least 155 people on board after losing contact with air traffic controllers,
according to the airline and Indonesian media reports.

The airline said in a statement on
its Facebook page
that a search operation had begun for QZ8501, which took
off from the Indonesian city of Surabaya at 5:27 a.m. The aircraft lost contact
at 7:24 a.m., the airline said, about the time it was scheduled to land in

“At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding
the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all
parties informed as more information becomes available,” the airline said.

The Airbus 320-200 passenger jet was carrying 155 passengers and crew, an
Indonesian transport official said, according to the Reuters news agency. The
Associated Press said there were 161 people on board.

Reuters said those aboard included 149 Indonesians, three people from Korea,
and one each from Singapore, Britain and Malaysia.

The flight path from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, to Singapore
goes directly over the Java Sea, a narrow body of water along the northern
coasts of the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra.

Indonesia AirAsia is the Jakarta-based affiliate of AirAsia, a Malaysian
low-cost air carrier.

The region has already seen two air tragedies this year, both involving rival
Malaysia Airlines. Malaysia Air Flight 370 vanished in March with 239 people
aboard while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing; the search for the
plane continues off the coast of Australia.

Malaysia Air Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July en route
from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Investigators believe Russia-backed Ukrainian
separatists were to blame.

Follow @SBengali for news
from South Asia

Copyright ©
2014, Los Angeles Times

8:43 p.m.: This story has been updated throughout with staff
reporting, discrepancy on number of missing, other background and details.

8:22 p.m.: This story has been updated with details
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