MOSCOW, December 28 (Sputnik) – The missing AirAsia plane with 162 people on board might have crashed, according to Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Chinese news agency Xinhua reports Sunday.
“We haven’t got any information that indicates where the plane crashed,” Kalla said during a televised press conference Sunday evening, as quoted by Xinhua.
However, rescue teams had to halt the search operation as the night settled in. Indonesia’s Transport Ministry said the search operation would resume on Monday morning, as early as 7 a.m. local time (12 a.m. GMT).
I am touched by the massive show of support especially from my fellow airlines. This is my worse nightmare. But there is no stopping.— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) 28 декабря 2014
Earlier today, it was reported that flight QZ8501 operated by AirAsia Company, heading from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore, disappeared from the radars.
Very sad to hear that AirAsia Indonesia QZ8501 is missing. My thoughts are with the families. Malaysia stands ready to help.— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) 28 декабря 2014
According to the statement issued by AirAsia, air traffic control lost contact with flight QZ8501 at 07:24 local time (00:24 GMT). The aircraft had 155 passengers and seven crew members on board.
Reports in Indonesia that Australia is sending three RAAF P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft to search for the missing #AirAsia plane— Michael Bachelard (@mbachelard) 28 декабря 2014
The plane was operated by an Indonesian captain, who had a substantial number of flying hours a total of 6,100, and a French co-pilot with a total of 2,275 flying hours, according to AP.
Basarnas spokesperson previously said the plane had been caught in turbulence, attempted to change the course and had crashed into the sea. Indonesian Ministry of Transportation has not confirmed this information.
AirAsia Indonesia operates domestic flights within the Indonesian archipelago and international flights to Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Thailand. The company is an affiliate of the Malaysian company AirAsia. In 2007, AirAsia Indonesia was banned from operating flights to the European Union (EU) due to safety concerns; however, the ban was lifted in July 2010, the BBC reports.