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FRANCE - INDONESIA

Missing AirAsia jet had one French on board

Members of the Indonesian air force are getting ready to take off from the Kubu Raya base on 28 December in order to search for the AirAsia Airbus A320.
Members of the Indonesian air force are getting ready to take off from the Kubu Raya base on 28 December in order to search for the AirAsia Airbus A320. REUTERS/Antara Foto/Jessica Helena Wuysang

A French national was on board the AirAsia plane carrying 162 people that went missing Sunday en route from Indonesia to Singapore. At this time, the research is suspended for the night.

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The flight QZ8501, which left Juanda international airport in Surabaya, east Java, was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 8:30am (0030 GMT).

More than 12 hours after its disappearance, the AirAsia Airbus A320-200 is nowhere to be found.

Two Indonesia air force planes and a helicopter have searched the waters around the islands of Bangka and Belitung in the Java Sea, near Kalimanten island, around halfway along the missing aircraft's expected flight path.

The research was halted because of the night falling.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft at 6:24am (2324 GMT Saturday), only 42 minutes after it left Surabaya in east Java, said RFI correspondent Cléa Broadhurst.

Shortly before disappearing, AirAsia said the plane had asked permission from Jakarta air traffic control to deviate from its flight plan and climb above bad weather in an area noted for severe thunderstorms. The region is currently in the midst of the rainy season.

The airline said 155 passengers were on board (including 149 Indonesians, three South Koreans and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Great Britain) as well as seven cabin crew members including one French, the co-pilote Rémi Emmanuel Plesel.

AirAsia said the missing jet last underwent maintenance on November 16. The company has never suffered a fatal accident.

During a press conference this Sunday morning Djoko Murjatmodjo, the manager of the Indonesian civil aviation, said the “The plane was in good condition but the weather was not so good".

 

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