The unthinkable has happened again. Another commercial airliner is missing in Southeast Asia. AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared Saturday evening over the Java Sea while en route from Surabaya to Singapore. There were 162 people on board at the time and, of those, 7 were crewmembers. Before disappearing, the pilots reportedly asked to deviate from the flight plan due to bad weather, but the pilots did not issue a mayday or distress call.
AirAsia is a Malaysia-based, budget carrier with approximately 100 destinations in the region. The airline reportedly has a good safety record. AirAsia Flight 8501 was an Airbus A320-200. Search and rescue operations have been suspended due to darkness and bad weather, but are expected to resume quickly. No debris has been located at this time.
This is the second incident of a missing plane in the region in less than a year. Malaysia Flight 370, a Boeing 777 that disappeared on March 6, 2014, with 239 people on board, still has not been located.