Spoiler: it’s not much
162 people have disappeared along with their plane somewhere over Indonesia, and no one knows what happened.
Air Asia Flight 8501 disappeared last night as it approached stormy weather over the Java Sea. At 6:24 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the plane lost contact with air traffic control, and hasn’t been heard from since. According to NPR, the flight crew had requested a change in flight plan after encountering increasingly violent weather, and fell off the grid soon after.
AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact at 07:24hrs this morning http://t.co/WomRQuzcPO
— AirAsia (@AirAsia) December 28, 2014
Indonesian officials have released what details they know about the plane’s flight path and location, and Air Asia seems to be doing what it can to remain as transparent about the situation as possible.
AirAsia said in a statement that the plane has six Indonesian crew, a French crew member and 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant. Among the passengers are three South Koreans, a Singaporean, a Malaysian and a Briton. The rest are Indonesians, the statement said.
[Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia’s acting director general of transportation] said the plane is believed to have gone missing somewhere over the Java Sea between Tanjung Pandan on Belitung Island and Pontianak, on Indonesia’s part of Borneo island. Contact was lost about 42 minutes after takeoff from Surabaya airport, authorities said.
At Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport, dozens of relatives sat in a room, many talking on mobile phones, crying and looking dazed as the hours dragged on without additional news. As word spread, more and more family members arrived at the crisis center to await word.
Of course, theorists and “experts” have come out of the woodwork in an attempt to explain what happened:
— Jack Dutton (@jackvdutton) December 28, 2014
Meanwhile, Air Asia is providing updates via its Facebook page:
Search efforts were suspended as darkness fell over the the area, but will resume as soon as possible.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available.
Map in featured image via SlateDONATE
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