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Map: Flight lost contact half-way through flight

The red area indicates where the flight lost contact. Credit: Google Maps

Flight QZ8501 was between the Indonesian port of Tanjung Pandan and the town of Pontianak on Borneo island when it went missing, authorities believe.

Tanjung Pandan is the main town on Belitung island, roughly half way between Indonesia's Surabaya Airport and Singapore, the flight's departure and planned arrival points.

There was bad weather over the island at the time of the disappearance. Shortly before it disappeared, the flight's crew asked to fly higher due to bad weather.

AirAsia boss on way to Indonesia after plane disappearance

Tony Fernandes, the group chief executive of AirAsia, has said he is on way to Surabaya in Indonesia following the disappearance of flight QZ8501.

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AirAsia: Briton on board missing flight QZ8501

One UK person is aboard missing flight QZ8501, according to a newly-released statement by AirAsia Indonesia.

According to the updated list released on the airline's Facebook page, the following nationalities are among the 162 on board:

  • 1. Singapore: 1 person
  • 2. United Kingdom: 1 person
  • 3. Malaysia: 1 person
  • 4. South Korea: 3 people
  • 5. France: 1 person
  • 6. Indonesia: 155 people

Ferry carrying 466 people catches fire

A ferry carrying 466 passengers has been evacuated in dangerously high winds after it caught fire while sailing from Greece to Italy.

The ferry was travelling from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona, Italy when it caught fire. Credit: Google Maps

The captain of the Norman Atlantic reportedly ordered the evacuation after a blaze broke out on the car deck as it travelled from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona, Italy.

Nearby ships have been ordered to take passengers and crew members from the ferry, Greece's merchant marine minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said.

It is unclear whether there have been any casualties.

QZ8501: Foreign Office 'urgently' probing reports of Brit aboard

The Foreign Office says it is still "liaising urgently" with local authorities after initial reports indicated a British passenger was on board missing a missing AirAsia airliner.

In a statement read by telephone, the department said: "We are aware of reports of an incident regarding AirAsia flight 8501. Our thoughts are with the passengers' families as they await further news.

"We are aware of reports of a British passenger on board and are liaising urgently with local authorities to establish further details."

An updated list published by AirAsia contained no mention of any British nationals among the 155 passengers and seven crew on board.

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AirAsia pilot had thousands of hours of experience

The captain of missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 had a total of 6,100 flying hours, while the first officer had a total of 2,275 flying hours, the airline said in a statement.

The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200, the company said.

AirAsia also issued an updated list of the nationalities of passengers aboard flight QZ8501, indicating that one French passenger is among the missing.

The nationalities are as follows, according to the airline:

  • 1 Singapore
  • 1 Malaysia
  • 1 France
  • 3 South Korean
  • 156 Indonesia

The Foreign Office earlier said it was investigating earlier reports that a Briton was aboard the flight - though no British passengers were listed by AirAsia.

Relatives of AirAsia passengers weep as they wait for news

Credit: PA

Relatives of the missing AirAsia weep as they wait anxiously for news of their loved ones.

Many gathered at the International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, where the plane took off from yesterday.

It was due to land in Singapore at 8.30am local time but lost contact more than three hours before.

Credit: PA

The Indonesian Transport Ministry said no distress signal had been sent.

Shortly before it lost contact with air traffic control over Indonesia it reportedly asked to fly higher to avoid bad weather.

AirAsia flight has 16 children and 1 infant onboard

AirAsia flight QZ8501 has 16 children and 1 infant onboard as well as 138 adult passengers, the airline has confirmed.

A Changi Airport staff holds up a sign to direct possible next-of-kins of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501. Credit: Reuters

There are also two pilots and five cabin crew on the plane which lost contact shortly after "asking to fly higher to avoid clouds".

A statement on AirAsia's Facebook page said there were 157 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Malaysian and one Singaporean onboard.

Initial media reports indicated that one passenger was British but that remains unconfirmed.

Search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of the Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

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