Developing news: an Indonesia Air Asia Flight QZ8501 is believed to have hit the waters off the island of Pulau Belitung after being stalled in bad weather. On board were 155 passengers composed of 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant.
(image via The Aviation Herald)
The captain of the aircraft, an Airbus A320-200 is reported to have 6100 hours of flying experience while the first officer had 2,275 flying hours. There were also four Air Asia cabin crew on board when the accident occurred.
The breakdown of nationalities onboard includes 157 Indonesians,3 South Koreans, one Malaysian and one Singaporean. Air Asia is a budget airline commonly booked by Filipinos because of the promo fares it offers when flying around the region.
It was just supposed to be a routine two hour flight from Indonesia to Singapore. In a press statement, Air Asia said: ” At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC).
The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on 16 November 2014.
AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801.”
QZ8501 is the third major air incident that occurred in 2014, all of which involved Asian airlines. The first one was Malaysia Airlines (MH) Flight 370 which perished while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew onboard. The second one was Malaysia Airlines (MH) Flight 17 shot down over Ukraine in July, with 283 passengers and 15 crew onboard.
While the QZ8501 investigation is still ongoing, the three accidents summed up together would have involved the lives of 698 passengers and crew. And this makes 2014 a really bad year for aviation or flying altogether.