Belitung Island Crash? Report Claims Plane Crashed Off East Belitung Timur, Indonesia; AirAsia Flight QZ-8501 Search Resumes

December 27, 2014 Updated: December 29, 2014

Indonesian media reports on Sunday say a plane has crashed off waters near East  Belitung. However, there has been no confirmation that the plane crashed or the wreckage has been found. 

UPDATE as of 7 p.m. ET: Indonesian authorities on Sunday afternoon ET said the search for the plane–now missing more than 24 hours–will resume. According to AFP, Australia has joined the search for the plane.

A National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) told the Jakarta Post that the AirAsia plane is downed in Belitung waters at 03.22.46 South and 108.50.07 East. It’s located about 145 km from Belitung island. 

A spokesperson for the agency told the Post that it dispatched a search and rescue team to Belitung.

AirAsia Flight QZ-8501 went missing on early Sunday morning going from Indonesia to Singapore. 

According to the Malaysian Insider on Sunday:

An aircraft has reportedly crashed in the waters off East Belitung, off the east coast of Sumatra, after authorities confirmed that AirAsia Flight QZ8501 went missing earlier today.

The Bangka Pos news portal said there was no confirmation of the crash site.

 

READ MORE: Was 2014 the Worst Year for Air Crashes?

As the Insider reported, the Bangka Pos said that “authorities received information that the location is at Babel coast, but the exact place was still unknown.”

“We are still coordinating and gathering information from the fishermen and the ships passing through the Beltim coast,” AKP Yanto told Bangka Pos.

According to a Google Translate of the Bangka Pos article, it said an “Airbus reportedly crashed in the waters of East Belitung.” The headline says the “AirAsia Airbus” was the plane.

Indonesian Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa said the plane asked for an “unusual route” before it lost contact near Kalimantan and Belitung island, Reuters reported.

 

AirAsia said in a statement that the plane was an Airbus A320-200 and that search and rescue operations were in progress.

The plane had six crew and 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant, the general manager of Surabaya’s Juanda airport, Trikora Raharjo, told The Associated Press.

There were six foreigners — three South Koreans including an infant and one each from Singapore, British and Malaysia, said Raharjo. The rest were Indonesians, he said.

The plane lost contact when it was believed to be over the Java Sea between Kalimantan and Java islands, Mustofa said.

He said the weather in the area was cloudy.

The Singapore aviation authority said it was informed about the missing plane by Jakarta ground control about half an hour after the contact was lost.

“Search and rescue operations have been activated by the Indonesian authorities,” it said, adding that the Singapore air force and the navy also were activated with two C-130 planes.

 AirAsia issued a statement on Facebook:

AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24hrs this morning.

 At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available. 

The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. 

At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service. 

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. 

AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, www.airasia.com.

Singapore’s aviation agency also issued a statement:

28 December 2014, 11:30am Local Time:- An Indonesia AirAsia aircraft, QZ8501, scheduled to arrive at 0830 hours local time from Surabaya, lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 0724 hours local time today. Singapore air traffic control was informed of this loss of contact at 0754 hours by Jakarta air traffic control. The aircraft was in the Indonesian Flight Information Region (FIR) when contact was lost, more than 200 nm southeast of the Singapore-Jakarta FIR boundary.

Search and rescue operations have been activated by the Indonesian authorities from the Pangkal Pinang Search and Rescue office.

The Singapore Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and supported by various agencies, including the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), has also been activated and has offered help to the Indonesian authorities. Two C130s are already on stand-by for this purpose. We remain ready to provide any assistance to support the search and rescue effort.

The CAAS and Changi Airport Group (CAG) Crisis Management Centres have already been activated. We are working with the airline’s crisis management team.

A waiting area, and all necessary facilities and support have been set up for relatives and friends of the affected passengers at Changi Airport Terminal 2 (Level 3).

Further updates will be provided once more information is available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.