(Update 2 – 31 Dec 2014) The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia and other relevant authorities continue to search and recover the passengers of QZ 8501 in the Karimata Strait area.
Earlier today, Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia and AirAsia management visited the military base in Pangkalan Bun to meet with key stakeholders of the SAR operations. Fernandes met with Deputy Governor of Central Kalimantan, Achmad Diran; Deputy of Potential Search And Rescue (SAR), Marsekal Muda TNI Sunarbowo Sandi; Joint Operation Chief Territory II, Marsekal Muda TNI Abdul Muis; Joint Operation Chief Territory I, Marsekal Muda TNI Agus Dwi Putranto; Central Kalimantan Police Chief, Brigadier General Hermanu and Deputy of Operation Search And Rescue (SAR), Marsekal Pertama TNI Supriyadi.
Fernandes said: “I continue to be humbled and touched by the incredible efforts and professionalism put forth by BASARNAS, Army, Navy, Air Force and Police of Indonesia. The search and rescue operations were unfortunately hampered by bad weather today but I am hopeful they will be able to resume the search tomorrow.”
To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered a total of seven remains, which were transported to the military base in Pangkalan Bun, Borneo. Two of the seven remains were transported to Bayangkara Hospital in Surabaya for identification by Disaster Victim Identification of Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI).
(end of update 2)
(Update 1) Earlier in Surabaya, the management of AirAsia along with the Governor of East Java, National Search and Rescue Agency of Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS), Airport Authority of Indonesia, Airport Operator (Angkasa Pura I) met with the members of the families to update them on the latest developments and reconfirmed their commitment to providing assistance in every possible way.
Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO of AirAsia Indonesia said, “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.”
For the families in Singapore, there is also an emergency briefing room at Changi International Airport Terminal Two, where AirAsia Indonesia will be providing regular updates.
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted, under the guidance of National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS).
The captain in command had a total of 20,537 flying hours of which, 6,100 flying hours were with AirAsia Indonesia on the Airbus A320. The first office officer had a total of 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia.
(end of update 1)
Before communication was lost with AirAsia flight 8501, the aircraft requested to deviate from the planned flight route due to weather, the airline said in a statement.
AirAsia Indonesia confirmed that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 (Surabaya LT). The flight took off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 05:35 hours.
The missing aircraft is an Airbus A320-200, registration PK-AXC, with 155 passengers (138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant), two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on board.
Of the nationalities on the plane, there were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian, one French and one British citizen, AirAsia said.
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Singapore also activated its air force and navy to assist in the search, officials said.
The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC).
The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on 16 November 2014.