Monday, 29 December 2014

AirAsia live: Flight QZ8501 found? Australia planes spot objects in sea..............

1.08 pm: Indonesian official says Australian planes spot objects in sea in AirAsia search area
An Indonesian official says objects have been spotted in the sea by a search plane hunting for the missing AirAsia jet.
Jakarta's Air Force base commander Rear Marshal Dwi Putranto says he was informed Monday that an Australian Orion aircraft had detected suspicious objects near Nangka island, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Pangkalan Bun, near central Kalimantan, or 700 miles (1,120 kilometers) from the location where the plane lost contact.
"However, we cannot be sure whether it is part of the missing AirAsia plane," Putranto says, "We are now moving in that direction, which is in cloudy conditions."
12.03 pm: Search area for flight QZ8501 expanded to waters off Sumatra coast
The search area for flight QZ8501 has been expanded to the entire waters around Bangka-Belitung, off the south coast of Sumatra, says a report in the Guardian.
Officials now seem to be largely operating on the premise that the flight has crashed into the sea.
Meanwhile Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the plight of Flight Qz8501 cannot be equated with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which vanished without a trace in March.
Australia is leading the search for MH370 which was on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared off radars on March 8 with 239 people onboard.
"I think it would be a big mistake to equate what has happened here with MH370," Abbott told Sydney radio station 2GB after budget airline AirAsia said a flight carrying 162 people was missing.
"MH370, as things stand, is one of the great mysteries of our time. It doesn't appear that there's any particular mystery here.
"It's an aircraft that was flying a regular route on a regular schedule, it struck what appears to have been horrific weather, and it's down. But this is not a mystery like the MH370 disappearance and it's not an atrocity like the MH17 shooting down."
11.23 am: China offers to help search for Flight QZ8501
China has offered to send aircraft and ships to help in the international search for a missing AirAsia flight that disappeared off Indonesia over the weekend, the Foreign Ministry said.
"China has already said to Indonesia that it is willing to urgently send planes and ships to participate in search and rescue," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.
Beijing "will provide other aid according to Indonesia's needs," the statement added.
Australia, Singapore and Malaysia deployed planes and ships to assist in the search as anguished relatives anxiously waited for news of their loved ones more than a day after flight QZ8501 disappeared.
China said in a statement Sunday it was "deeply concerned about the safety of the people on board" would "like to send a message of solidarity to their family members".
10.40 am: Daughter of Air Asia pilot asks him to come back in moving message on social media
Even as Indonesian search and rescue officials say they believe that flight QZ8501 is at the 'bottom of the sea', a moving message from the daughter of the Air Asia pilot to her father on social media is making the rounds.
According to a report on the Malaysian Insider:
The daughter of Captain Irianto, the pilot of missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 has posted a poignant message on social networking site Path to her father, Indonesian news website reported. Identified only as Angela, she uploaded a picture of her father and wrote: "Papa pulang. Kakak masih butuh papa. Kembalikan papaku. Papa pulang pa, papa harus ketemu." (Papa come back. I still need you. Return my papa to me. Papa come back, we have to meet.)" Angela is one of Irianto's two school-going children. His wife is not working.
9.53 am: More trouble for Air Asia? Indonesia to review Airline operations after QZ8501 disappearance
Indonesia's transport minister said Monday the government would review AirAsia's operations in the Southeast Asian country following the disappearance of a plane carrying 162 people.
"We will do a ground check as well as a review of AirAsia's operations in Indonesia to ensure that all of its activities are better in the future," Ignasius Jonan told reporters.
AirAsia, which has never suffered a fatal accident, said the missing jet last underwent maintenance on 16 November.
8.43 am: Indonesian authorities confirm crash, says the flight could be 'at the bottom of the sea'
The AirAsia plane which went missing with 162 people on board en route for Singapore is likely at the bottom of the sea, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief said Monday.
"Based on the coordinates given to us and evaluation that the estimated crash position is in the sea, the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea," Bambang Soelistyo told a press conference. "That's the preliminary suspicion and it can develop based on the evaluation of the result of our search."
Soelistyo said Indonesia did not have "the tools", such as submersible vehicles, required to retrieve the plane from the seabed, but that it is reaching out to other countries for help if necessary.
The official also "Due to the lack of technology that we have, I have coordinated with our foreign minister so we will borrow from other countries which have offered. They are the UK, France and US," he said.
8.00 am: Cyber criminals use tragedy to spread malware 
In a trend that was kicked off by the disappearance of MH370, a flight from Malaysian Airlines, cyber crooks have latched on to the recent tragedy to acquire personal information of internet users and spread malware.
According to The Hacker News, cyber criminals are working over time and luring internet users to sites that aid phishing by promising the latest information on QZ8501.
The Hacker News reports: "Our team has spotted some posts on social media claiming that the “Missing AirAsia flight QZ850 has been found and that all its passengers are safe and alive”. But once the user click on the news, the link redirects users to the malicious websites."
7.43 am: AirAsia shares plunge after QZ8501 goes missing
Hours after AirAsia's QZ8501 disappeared and remained untraceable, the company's shares plunged by 11.6 percent today morning. The plane has been missing for over a day now and hopes of finding survivors are depleting fast, given that the aircraft had enough fuel to only fly 4.5 hours.
The Strait Times reports: "Shares of the Malaysia-based budget airline fell at the start of trade on Monday, after Indonesia resumed its search for the missing jetliner QZ8501 at first light on Monday. AirAsia fell as much as 12.9 per cent to RM2.56 at 0102 GMT, its lowest point since Nov. 28. The stock has gained 21.4 per cent since the beginning of the year."
Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO of AirAsia Indonesia said about the missing aircraft yesterday, “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this incident. We are cooperating with the relevant authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident. In the meantime, our main priority is keeping the families of our passengers and colleagues informed on the latest developments.”
“We will do everything possible to support them as the investigation continues and have already mobilized a support team to help take care of their immediate needs, including accommodation and travel arrangements. A briefing center has also been set up in Surabaya for the families," he added in a statement.
7.30 am: Search operations resumed for missing QZ8501, Australia joins search 
After search operations were suspended due to bad weather and darkness at around 5.30 pm Singapore national time, they were resumed today again. The Australian air force and navy joined the search ops.
ABC News reported that that Australian Defence Force has deployed a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft to help in the search operations. ABC quoted Australian air chief Marshal Binskin as saying,"The RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft has a well proven capability in search and rescue and carries maritime search radar coupled with infra-red and electro-optical sensors to support the visual observation capabilities provided by its highly trained crew members."
"The flight was piloted by Captain Iriyanto, who had a total of 20,537 flying hours, according to a statement from AirAsia. More than 6,000 of Iriyanto's flying hours were on an Airbus A320. The first officer, Remi Emmanuel Plesel, had 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia, according to the airline," ABC reported.
End of updates from 28 December
4.26 pm: AirAsia plane crash reports not true: Malaysia
Malaysia's Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai dismissed claims that wreckage of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 was found, an IANS report quoted Malaysian agencies as saying on Sunday.
"I urge people to maintain calm and not listen to unverified news reports," The Star Online quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, AFP quoted Indonesian officials who said the search for the missing AirAsia flight has been halted for the day.
A report in the Reuters said, Indonesia called off until first light a search for an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board that went missing on Sunday after pilots asked to change course to avoid bad weather during a flight from Indonesia's Surabaya city to Singapore.
A Changi Airport staff holds up a sign to direct possible next-of-kins of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ 8501 from Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, at Changi Airport in Singapore. Reuters
A Changi Airport staff holds up a sign to direct possible next-of-kins of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ 8501 from Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, at Changi Airport in Singapore. Reuters
Unconfirmed reports emerged that the wreckage, allegedly of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, has been found in the waters off East Belitung.
"There are plenty of speculations that they have found the plane. At this point of time, it is not true. We are still looking for the plane," he said.
Indian Navy has kept three ships and one fixed-wing aircraft (Boeing P8-1) on standby to assist the search and rescue operations, according to Zee News.
1.50 pm: Twitterati reacts to news of disappearance of QZ8501 with shock
Twitter woke up to the dreadful news of QZ8501 disappearing and expressed their shock at the failure of advanced technology. Most expressed solidarity with the families of the passengers who have gone missing with the plane and also wondered if the South East Asian aviation industry is going through a serious problem. They cited the disappearance of MH370 and MH17 from the Malaysian Airlines stable.
1.44 pm: AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes headed to Surabaya
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said that he is headed to Surabaya, the Indonesian city from where QZ8501 had taken off. Fernandes, who changed his display picture on Twitter to a grey AirAsia logo in solidarity with the families of the missing passengers, said that he will keep updating Twitter with information about the search operations.
12. 21 pm: Meanwhile, fears that QZ8501 might have crashed off an Indonesian island gather steam
Though there is no official word on it, local media seems to be reporting that the missing flight has actually crashed off Belitung Islands. Sputnik News reports that a local newspaper Republika has said that the flight has crashed into the Indian Ocean. Sputnik News states:
"AirAsia Airbus A320, flight QZ 8501, flying from Surabaya [Indonesia] to Singapore fell into water near Belitung island [Indonesia]," Republika newspaper quoted the agency's representative as saying.
Strengthening the fears were Indonesian officials who said that there is no way the flight could still be flying as it had fuel that could sustain a 4.5 hour flight. QZ8501 has been missing for almost six hours now.
Chinese agency CCTV news also reports that Malaysian PM has said that though there is no confirmed news of the same, he fears that a 'big tragedy' might have occurred. Razak said, "I don't have much details yet, but big possibility that a tragedy has occurred."
However, no distress signal was sent from the missing flight. According to latest reports, six ships and two helicopters have been deployed in the area where QZ8501 was last spotted.
11.54 am: Was AirAsia pilot headed for a disaster with altitude change?
The air traffic control and AirAsia have said that the pilot of the missing flight QZ8501 had asked for an increase in altitude of the flight as the plane seemed to have run into some bad weather and wanted to avoid the clouds. The flight went missing shortly after that.
Aviation expert Gerry Soejatman tweeted out a 'leaked' picture of the ATC screen on QZ8501. He seemed to be suggesting that the altitude of the plane and the ground speed of the aircraft didn't seem to be fine.
However, though the 'leaked' picture has raised doubts about the expertise of the flight's pilot Air Asia has released a statement saying the the pilot manning the aircraft suitably experienced. The flight commander had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours as experience.
The airline also confirmed the following: "There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew."
11.50 am: Singapore PM consoles families of missing passengers
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong tweeted saying that his thoughts are with the families of the passengers of QZ8501.
At a press conference, transport ministry officials told that the pilot had asked for a change in altitude as it had run into bad weather and wanted to avoid clouds. The transport official also said that the flight went missing between Tanjung Pandan and Pontianak, West Kalimantan.
10.55 am: Singapore presses Air Force, Navy into action to look for missing Air Asia flight
Singapore said on Sunday it has activated its air force and navy to help in the search and rescue operation for the AirAsia jet that went missing on a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore.
"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 Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement.
A waiting area, and facilities and support have been set up for relatives at Changi Airport Terminal 2, it said.
10.43 am: Local Indonesian media reports that the remains of a crashed plane has been found off Belitung Islands
Florian Witulski (@vaitor on Twitter) who is covering the incident, reports that the local media has said that the remains of a crashed aircraft has been found off Belitung Islands, from where QZ8501 went missing.
However, the local media reports cannot confirm if the crashed aircraft is the missing flight.
10.33 am: AirAsia uploads black cover photo on Facebook
With no news coming in on the flight hours after it disappeared from the Indonesia air space, AirAsia has updated the cover photo of its Facebook page to a strip of black. Also, a new company logo has been uploaded as the display picture on the page - it is a grey version of the company's red logo.
10.15 am: 149 Indonesians on missing flight
The passengers on the missing AirAsia flight are mostly Indonesian, local media reports suggested. The flight comprised 149 Indonesians, 3 Koreans, 1 Singaporean, 1 Briton, 1 Malaysian.
9.53 am: Thunderstorms reported around Surabaya, from where the flight took off
Reports suggest that violent thunderstorms have been detected around Surabaya, the Indonesian city from which the flight had taken off. Florian Witulski, a journalist covering the incident, said that the Indonesian officials are facing difficulties in carrying on the search operations because of the bad weather conditions in the area.
QZ8501 reportedly lost contact near the Belitung Islands.
9.30 am: AirAsia confirms on Facebook page that they have no news of the flight yet
AirAsia confirmed on its Facebook page that they have lost all contact with the flight. They said, " 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."
The airline also gave out a emergency helpline number (+622129850801) for the kin of the passengers of the missing flight.
9.15 am: AirAsia flight loses contact with air traffic control
An AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday, Indonesian media said, citing a Transport Ministry official.
Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa said the aircraft, flight number QZ 8501, lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6:17 a.m local time. (2317 GMT).
The flight was supposed to reach Singapore at at 8:30 a.m. Singapore time (0030 GMT).
He said the plane had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact.