AirAsia flight QZ8501 search: As it happened on Monday

Search continues for the missing Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 with162 people on board. However, senior Indonesian official says the plane is likely to be at the “bottom of the sea”. Here are the live updates:

AirAsia flight QZ8501 search: As it happened on Monday

Indonesia/Jakarta: Search continues for the missing Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 with 162 people on board. However, senior Indonesian official says the plane is likely to be at the “bottom of the sea”. Here are the live updates:

  • The search for the AirAsia flight QZ8501 ends for a second day. The search area will be widened on Tuesday.
  • "Virgin Atlantic can confirm that the plane has landed safely at Gatwick. Our priority now is to look after our passengers," says the official Twitter handle of Virgin Atlantica.


  • Virgin flight VS43 was travelling from Gatwick to Las Vegas when it had to return to the West Sussex airport. The Boeing 747 circled over Devon and Sussex in southern England to burn off fuel before making a bumpy but safe landing.
  • A Virgin Atlantic passenger plane lands safely at London's Gatwick Airport after a "technical issue" with part of its main landing gear, says BBC. 

  • On the second day of the search operation, seven zones were patrolled today. However, so far, the search has been fruitless. "Our early conjecture is that the plane is in the bottom of the sea," says the head of the search and rescue agency Bambang Sulistyo. 

  • The Indonesian government announces that search for missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 with 162 people aboard will expand on Tuesday. "Four additional areas will be searched," the national search and rescue agency said.

  • A spokeswoman for Allianz adds that the German group was also the lead insurer for Malaysian Airlines, as per PTI.

  • "We can confirm that Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty UK is the lead reinsurer for AirAsia, for aviation hull and liability insurance," Allianz says in a statement.

  • The Munich-based reinsurance giant says that its subsidiary Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty UK is the lead insurer for AirAsia, including for liability insurance. However, Allianz added that it is too early to comment on the incident itself, but expressed its support for those affected by it.


  • Even as the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 continues, reports suggest that the airlines' in-flight magazine had once claimed that it's flights could never get lost. The Independent quoted the article as saying, "Pilot training in AirAsia is continuous and very thorough. Rest assured that your captain is well prepared to ensure your plane will never get lost." The report says the article was later pulled out after facing flak and passengers calling it 'distasteful'.
  • "Malaysia related accidents are creating a Bermuda Triangle like mystery arnd Malaysia. Amazing that all three-2 unexplained-- involve M," tweets Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
  • Search officials say prospects bleak for missing AirAsia jet flight QZ8501.
  • Speaking at the conclusion of his Sunday Angelus, the Pope says, “With affection and prayers, I am close to their family members and those who are living through these difficult situations with apprehension and suffering as well those who are involved in the rescue operations,”
  • Pope Francis prays for the passengers of the missing Asian airplane as hopes began to fade that anyone might be found alive.
  • Vice President Jusuf Kalla adds that the search for the plane and passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501, which lost contact with air traffic control between Surabaya and Singapore on Sunday, would continue without a time limit.

  • Even as Indonesia's vice president says his government is battling to find the missing passenger jet, relatives of those on-board face a second night of uncertainty. Dozens of scarlet-eyed family members packed into a cramped annex of Indonesia's Surabaya airport, where the flight took off early on Sunday morning, are desperately hoping for some good news.

  • Search officials have now shifted their focus to the oil spots traced off Belitung island in the Java Sea, Indonesian Air Force spokesman Hadi Tjahjanto told AFP.  They are yet to make "sure whether it was avtur (aviation fuel) from the AirAsia plane or from a vessel because that location is a shipping line".

  • Kalla informed that there were 15 ships and 30 aircraft now searching the area. "It is not an easy operation in the sea, especially in bad weather like this," he was quoted as saying by the AFP.

  • Speaking in a press conference at Surabaya airport, Kalla said, "It has been checked and no sufficient evidence was found to confirm what was reported".

  • Indonesia's Vice President Joseph Kalla has ruled out the possibility of the spotted objects being linked to the missing plane. However, they were yet to probe the oil spots found off Belitung island in the Java Sea.

  • The weather on Dec 30 and 31 in the Bangka Belitung area where missing AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 last made contact will be clear, Strait Times quoted the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) head, Adi Eka Sakya as saying.

"December 30 and 31 will have perfect weather for the search and rescue teams to try and locate the missing aircraft," Adi told a press conference in Jakarta.

  • Jakarta's Air Force base commander Rear Marshal Dwi Putranto said that an Australian Orion aircraft had detected suspicious objects near Nangka island, about 1,120 kilometres from the location where the plane lost contact, a news agency reported. He however added that they were not "sure whether it is part of the missing AirAsia plane". 
  • As the search vessels and helicopters continue to scour the search area for any possible trace of the missing AirAsia plane, the searchers found two oily spots and some objects in the sea. However, it is not yet clear if they have any link to the missing plane. The two oily spots were spotted by an Indonesian helicopter and some objects were seen by an Australian plane, reported a news agency.

  • "Blessing in disguise" - In what proved to be a life-saving miracle for a family of ten members, they arrived too late and missed the ill-fated AirAsia plane. 

    "Maybe it is all God's plan that my family and I were not on the flight. It was a blessing in disguise," the Daily Mail report quoted one of the family members as saying.

  •  In what may be the first clue to the missing plane's whereabouts, an Indonesian official has said that some objects were spotted in the search area in Java sea by Australian planes.

  • The search for the plane has been expanded northwards off the south coast of Sumatra, reports cited search ops chief as saying.

  • According to a Daily Mail report, Bambang Soelistyo said that the search area had been expanded northwards in the waters between Sumatra and Kalimantan. The search was earlier focused on waters around the islands of Bangka and Belitung in the Java Sea, across from Kalimantan on Borneo island.

    "We added three sectors to the north of the (four) search areas we had yesterday," the report quoted him as saying.

    "We are looking around Bangka, Belitung islands, Singkep, Karimata Strait, as well as the land area west of West Kalimantan."

  • AirAsia Indonesia CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted that he was heading to Surabaya to be with the grief-stricken families. He also hailed the commitment of the staff in Indonesia saying that they "have been brave, strong, committed and doing 150 percent for all our guests. My pride for them is enormous". 



  • An elegiac plea made by the missing plane's pilot's daughter on social media has been widely highlighted in Indonesian media.
  • Writing on a social networking site Path late Sunday, Captain Iriyanto's 22-year-old daughter Angela Anggi Ranastianis, wrote "Papa, come home, I still need you... Bring back my papa. Papa, please come home." 
  • Refusing to compare the missing AirAsia plane with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Australian PM Tony Abbott said that the latter continues to be one of the greatest mysteries whereas there was "no particular mystery" apparent in the case of AirAsia plane.
  • "I think it would be a big mistake to equate what has happened here with MH370...MH370, as things stand, is one of the great mysteries of our time. It doesn`t appear that there`s any particular mystery here." the AFP cited Abbott telling Sydney radio station 2GB. 
    "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," Abbott added.
  • AirAsia has established an emergency call centre for providing information to the families of the passengers aboard the flight. The number is+622129270811 or 031-8690855 or 031-2986790(Surabaya). However, the company has urged the news media to not call the AirAsia Emergency Call Centre, as this line is reserved for family members seeking information.
  • Indonesia will carry a ground check and a review of AirAsia operations to "ensure that all of its activities are better in the future,"  Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan told reporters on Monday.
  • The ill-fated plane was being piloted by  Captain Iriyanto, who had logged in a total of 20,537 flying hours of which, 6,100 flying hours were with AirAsia Indonesia on the Airbus A320. The co-pilot, a French national Remi Emmanuel Plesel, had flown a total of 2,275 hours with AirAsia Indonesia.
  • In the aftermath of the plane crash, AirAsia shares plummeted 7.8 percent on Monday, registering its biggest drop in a day in last three years, reported the Reuters.
  • The search operation chief added that Indonesia will take help from UK, US and France in search technologies that the nation lacks. 
  • The missing AirAsia plane with 162 people on board en route for Singapore has crashed and is likely at the bottom of the sea, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said Monday.
  • The plane crashed in the waters off east Belitung, off the east coast of Sumatra, he said according to news agencies.
  • “"Based on our coordinates, we predict that the plane is on the sea, for now it could be in the bottom of the sea," Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, told reporters.
  • Seven ships and two helicopters are assisting in the search operation. 
  • After large waves and dense clouds obstructed the search operations on Sunday, the search for the missing plane resumed today morning at 06.00 am local time.

AirAsia flight QZ8501, carrying 162 people on board, went missing over Java Sea between Belitung and Borneo while travelling from Indonesia's Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday morning.

Out of 162 on board, 155 were passengers and seven crew. According to AirAsia, all crew members were Indonesian except one who was a French nation co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel.

Of 155 passengers, most of them - 149 - were Indonesians, one Singapore national, one Malaysian and a United Kingdom citizen besides three from South Korea. Also the passengers comprised of 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant. 

The Airbus A320-200, which lost contact after an hour of takeoff on Sunday morning, was scheduled to arrive at Singapore at 8:30 am. The plane went off radar  after the pilot had requested to ascend to 38,000ft (11,000m) to avoid the clouds.

At the time of crash, the plane was reportedly at 32,000 feet over Java Sea in Indonesian territory.

Indonesian officials said that the pilot's request could not be immediately approved due to traffic, but the plane disappeared before the pilots could respond further.