SURABAYA, INDONESIA - For the second time in less than a year, a desperate search is underway to find a missing passenger jet in southeast Asia. AirAsia flight 8501 was about halfway into its journey from Indonesia to Singapore when it lost contact with air traffic control. The last transmission came when the pilot asked to change course and gain altitude to avoid bad weather. Minutes later, it vanished from radar.
Officials say the plane may have been flying through thick clouds, strong winds and even lightning. The CEO of the airline says he is focused on getting answers for the families of the missing. Tony Fernandes says, "There is nothing more important to us for our crew's family and for our passengers family, that we look after them. That is our number one priority at the moment." The plane had 162 people on board, mostly Indonesian citizens.
Nearly 10 months ago, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 vanished. In March, that flight dropped off radar with 239 people on board, just a few hundred miles north of where search crews are looking for the AirAsia plane. Now another long and costly search could be in store, as hundreds of families pray for good news.