PM: ‘Anything humanly possible’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 28 Desember 2014 | 23.08

Pledge ... Prime Minister Tony Abbott has offered Australia's support in the search for a missing AirAsia flight. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

A search is underway after an AirAsia plane with more than 150 people on board goes missing en route from Indonesia to Singapore. Paul Chapman reports

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has pledged Australia's support in the search for a missing AirAsia flight.

Mr Abbott has called Indonesian president Joko Widodo to offer assistance after a plane carrying 162 people went missing in bad weather on its way from Indonesia to Singapore.

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Australia has a P3 Orion aircraft ready to go and will do whatever is "humanly possible" to help with the search, he's told the Indonesian president.

Mr Abbott said he was sorry to hear about the tragedy, especially the many families who would be left devastated by the loss.

Support ... a letter from Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop earlier said she called her counterparts in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea, all of whom have citizens aboard the aeroplane.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families," Ms Bishop told reporters. "We hope and pray there will be survivors."

AirAsia issued a passenger list indicating there were no Australians on the flight, but Ms Bishop said she had sought information on whether there were any dual citizens or Australian residents.

The Australian embassy in Jakarta and the Australian High Commission in Singapore have been making inquiries with local authorities.

Aircraft ... an AirAsia plane lands at Soekarno Hatta International Airport. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the Airbus A320-200 about an hour after it left Juanda international airport in Surabaya, east Java, at 5.20am local time. It was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 8.30am.

Shortly before disappearing, the plane asked permission from Jakarta air traffic control to track away from its flight plan and climb above adverse weather in an area renowned for severe thunderstorms.

The pilots requested "deviation due to en route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC)", AirAsia said in a statement on its Facebook page.

It's the third major incident to affect a Malaysian carrier this year.

AirAsia said the plane was carrying 155 passengers as well as two pilots, four flight attendants and an engineer on the flight. As well as the Indonesian passengers there were three South Koreans, one Malaysian, one British and one Singaporean, according to AirAsia's statement on Sunday night.

One French national has also been identified as part of the crew. The breakdown of passengers is 138 adults, 16 children and a baby, said Indonesia's air transportation director general Djoko Murjatmodjo.

The families of passengers aboard the missing AirAsia flight QX 8501 react with shock in Surabaya and Jakarta. Courtesy: TV One Indonesia/ Metro TV

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