|QZ8501 Flight History. Flightradar24 picked up last signal 23:12 UTC (Credit: www.flightradar24.com|
• Lane lost contact with air traffic control hours ago
• Pilots asked to fly at higher altitude due to weather
• Search area is a busy shipping channel
(CNN) — An AirAsia passenger jet carrying 162 people lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control early Sunday, gripping Southeast Asia with a second missing plane crisis in less than a year.
The search operation for the missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 has been halted for the night, but big ships won’t return to shore and will leave their searchlights on, according to the Indonesian Transportation Ministry.
Before communication was lost, one of the pilots asked to fly at a higher altitude because of bad weather, officials said.
The aircraft, flying from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, went missing as it flew at 38,000 feet over the Java Sea between the islands of Belitung and Borneo — a heavily traveled shipping channel with shallow waters, according to Indonesian authorities, who are leading the search and rescue operations.
AirAsia says it lost contact with the aircraft at 7:24 local time. . . .