NEWSBITS: AirAsia Mystery Disaster

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AirAsia A320, the workhorse fleet of the airline, photographed in 2012


UPDATE: The wreckage of the ill-fated AirAsia plane has been located off Borneo Island, near where it disappeared from radar screens. The terrible task of retrieving bodies from the water began today, 30 December 2014.

A year-end disaster to add to the tragic mix

By Mary Foran


An AirAsia plane carrying 162 people has disappeared over stormy Indonesian waters. Search and rescue teams fighting torrential rains have yet to find wreakage from the plane that vanished from radar halfway to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia Sunday morning. The plane had been in the air about 42 minutes when one of the pilots asked to avoid clouds by turning left and going higher to 34,000 feet.

Singapore and surrounding islands and water

Singapore and surrounding islands and waterways

AirAsia Flight 8501 now joins the doomed flights from the area, including the 239 people still missing from the disappeared Malaysian Flight 370 and the 298 people aboard the Malaysian Flight 17 which was shot down over rebel-held territory in the Ukraine in the past year.

AirAsia Flight 8501 had an Indonesian captain and a French co-pilot, five cabin crew members and 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant. The passengers included three South Koreans, a Malaysian, a British national and his 2-year-old Singaporean daughter. The rest of the passengers were Indonesian.

Flight 8501 disappeared while at cruising altitude, usually the safest part of the trip.

Malaysia and Singapore planned to deploy planes and ships, along with the 12 ships, three helicopters, five military aircraft and warships from Indonesia. Australia will lend assistance as well.


Featured image by Aldo Bidini, GNU Free Documentation 1.2 via Wikipedia
Singapore map by PD