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The flight 8501

Updated on January 4, 2015

Aircraft lost on December 23

The Airbus A320-200 aircraft

At the end of 2014, on December 23, the Indonesian people and the world were consternated by the crash of Flight 8501. The plane was an Airbus A320-200 with registration number PK-AXC. This flight was operated by Indonesia AirAsia (QZ), a subsidiary of the company AIRASIA, located at the International Airport of Indonesia.

AirAsia, one of the first low-cost airlines in the world, confirmed that 162 people were on the aircraft. Of all people on board, 155 were passengers and 7 crew. Among the passengers were 17 children and a baby. The vast majority were Indonesians. But also traveled citizens of the UK, France, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

The Airbus Flight 8501 took off at 05:20 from Juanda Surabaya International Airport, located in the east of the Indonesian island of Java. His landing was scheduled in Singapore to 08:30 (GMT 00H 30).

Airbus A320-200 disappears

The aircraft was flying at 32,000 feet in the middle of a storm. The pilot asked the control tower make a left turn and climb another 6000 feet to avoid the weather phenomenon. The control tower granted his first request, but did not so with the application for ascender. There was plenty of air traffic. "At that time, 11 aircraft flew along the corridor M365", said Wisnu Darjono, the airport director.

"Two or three minutes later, air traffic control would give permission to fly at 34,000 feet (10,400 meters), but the plane did not respond," said airport director. It was 7:17 am (Singapore time) when lost contact. The aircraft was gone within minutes of taking off, just 200 nautical miles southeast of the border between flight information regions Jakarta and Singapore. The control tower assumed that then flew over the Java Sea, between the islands of Borneo and Belitung.

Search and rescue

Immediately began search and rescue operations. The Indonesian government organized an extensive program to recover all the bodies and the black box of the plane. The island of Borneo was one of the first places where the search began. However, at 5:30 PM, local time, the weather did not allow to continue the search and rescue mission. "From tomorrow until January 4th (2015), with existing forces, calculations, and tactics that we have, we will continue fighting ..." said at a press conference Bambang Soelistyo, director of the Agency for search and rescue of Indonesia.

On Monday December 29 the Sonar Teams began searching in the seabed, at a depth of 131-164 feet. The search was becoming difficult. Strong winds and cloudy weather prevented the visibility and made it difficult to scan the waters.

On Tuesday 30 December a research team detected from a military aircraft a shadow of an object that looked like a plane. This sighting took place on the coast of the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan, in Borneo. But the strong currents that day not allowed to continue with the rescue efforts. So the mission was postponed for Wednesday 31 December.

The solidarity of the international community was swift. Teams from Australia, Malaysia and Singapore engaged in the search. The governments of China and the United States announced that they will join the mission. Several nations began to contribute resources.

The destroyer Sampson, belonging to the USS Armada, arrived Tuesday December 30 at the supposed area where occurred air disaster. "The USS Fort Worth is prepared to deploy in Singapore," said Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman. On the other hand, "are preparing maritime patrol aircraft that could help," added the Rear Admiral US Navy.

Familiar feeling

While search and rescue operations was intensified, families of the missing still harbored the hope that the 162 passengers were alive. They clung to the idea that the plane could have landed on the island of Borneo, or some other sea island of Java. Referring to the pilot, his wife Widiya Sukati said: "... I hope that he returns well and alive. My children still need a father." They had a lot of reason to believe that the passengers and crew were safe, awaiting a rescue.

The Airbus A320-200 was a modern airliner, built in France, and equipped with advanced current technology of aeronautics. The commander of the aircraft, Iriyanto, was an experienced pilot with 6100 hours of flight. The first officer, the French co-driver Emmanuel Remi Plesel, had 2275 hours of flight.

The hope of the family collapsed on Tuesday 30 December, while they participated a press conference. Through television and direct, they saw images of a helicopter flying over what looked like a floating body. Everyone became hysterical, especially mothers. The press room was filled with tears and lamentations. Those who were sitting carried a hand to the mouth, or they buried their heads in their hands. No one was resigned to the idea that they were all dead, and some fell to the floor fainted.

Search mission and rescue

The missions of rescue and salvation continued on Wednesday 31 December. Divers, boats and aircraft began a new search in the waters of Indonesia. That day were found at least 4 dead bodies and aircraft parts. The findings were located within a radius of 60-120 miles from the last known position of the airplane over the sea of Java.

On Thursday January 1, 2015, was conducted the first burial of one of the victim of the flight 8501. The body was identified earlier, and corresponded to an Indonesian woman named Hamin Lutfiah Hayati. Little by little they have been rescuing the bodies of the passengers and some aircraft parts. "The warship Bung Tom has recovered 40 bodies and the number is growing," said Manahan Simorangkir, Navy spokesman. In addition to the victims, also were found parts of the fuselage and a door of the plane, luggage, lifejackets and other objects that supposedly come from the Airbus 320-200. It is expected that in the coming hours is found the main body of the aircraft and its black box. "We have found the crash site. Tomorrow we will launch a major operation by air and sea. We will focus on the location of the passengers and crew," he said at a press conference Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia.

Research needs

Once it found the black box and other devices of information, intelligence agencies hope to find an answer about the causes of the loss of contact of the Flight 8501. Some experts on the matter have said the plane could have experienced an aerodynamics cabin, perhaps for the lack of speed, or perhaps because of flying too sharp an angle to get enough height. Analysts have also suggested a malfunction of the systems that aircraft position report. Another factor could be the failure of the engines, produced by rain or by the hail thunderstorm in the area.

To decipher what really happened, the authorities will need to conduct an investigation. For now the Ministry of Transport of Indonesia has stated that the QZ 8501 flight was only allowed to fly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This same Ministry, through its National Security Committee, will lead the investigation. Have also pledged to help with the investigation, government of Australia, the European manufacturer Airbus and French Office for Analysis and Research (BEA), since the aircraft was built in France.

Plane crashes in Asia

Plane crashes in Asia

The truth is that a veil of uncertainty has begun to weigh on air Asia travel. The tragedy of QZ8501 aircraft is the third major incident involving an airline in Asia in 2014. Prior three fatal accidents had occurred in the months of March and July.

In March 2014, the flight Malaysian Airlines MH 370 disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It was a Boeing 777-200 that traveled to Beijing with 239 passengers.

The search of the MH370 aircraft continues. Australia leads the search efforts at the request of the government of Malaysia. The Bureau of Transportation Safety Australia states that continues the mapping of the seabed, and that a ship is still searching underwater the plane. "Rest assured that we are working, and (work) is aimed at finding the MH370 as quickly as possible," said the ATSB.

Four months after the crash of Flight MH370, on July 17, 2014, the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 crashed in Ukraine. The route of the plane was covered from the Amsterdam Airport up to International Airport Kuala Lumpur. On board were 298 people. It is presumed that the aircraft, a Boeing 777, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine territory. The Dutch authorities continue the investigation, and the case has not yet been closed.

The plane crash of flight 17 is not considered an accident by Aviation Safety Network. This agency does not count the sabotages into their safety indicators. So in the aviation statistics are not included the deaths of the 298 travelers aboard Flight 17 Malaysia Airlines.

Almost a week later, on Wednesday July 23, the TransAsia Airlines flight 222 crashed in Taiwan in the middle of a typhoon. As a result of the accident, 48 passengers were killed and 11 were seriously injured. The ATR-72 Flight 222 crashed while trying to land in Magong Airport, in the Penghu Islands.

The Family feeling and air safety

The families of the passengers and crew of the missing aircraft the mid-year have not had the consolation of giving decent burial to the victims of these accidents. It could be they had to wait a long time to fulfill their natural desire. "Assuming no significant delays to ships, equipment, meteorological conditions, and the current search area can be largely completed around May 2015", said the ATSB referring to flight MH370.

"We will never find peace until we do the right thing for our loved ones, and that is bring them home to us." This is the sense of family members who have not yet had the consolation to rescue the remains of their loved ones, as are now doing the relatives of flight 8501.

"The last few days have been a torment. Everything is repeated again. We're just reliving what we've been," said a relative of one of the victims of Flight MH370 in referring to the incident recently occurred with Flight 8501. "Nine months ago, none of us is as strong as we used to be," said another of the family.

The air accidents in 2014 have produced a deep anxiety and concern. People refuse to believe the possibility that an accident could occur when traveling in a modern aircraft, equipped with the most sophisticated scientific advances in aeronautics. Many have claimed that the skies are becoming more dangerous. Nobody wants to admit that 704 passengers and crew lost their lives in a short period of 138 days. Many travelers begin to worry about the security of global aviation network. Some have expressed fear of flying, and have even declared his fear to this means of transportation.

To support or refute those who begin to reject aircraft as a means of safe and fast transportation, we should consult the statistics that owns Aviation Safety Network and other organizations of global security.

Referring to the issue of air accidents, the global director of programs for the Flight Safety Foundation in Washington expressed: "I do not think it's possible that there is no accident. But there is always work to be done in the field of security."


News agencies: AFP, CNN, IPS, News, Reuters, PL, AP, UPI.

Daily: The Universe, The Miami Herald, The New York Times.

Aviation Safety Network -


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    • liasagustin profile image

      Agustin Lias 2 years ago from 2222 Fillmore St, Hollywood, Fl. 33020

      Mary Mull, Thanks for reading my article. The flight 8501 is an article related to the disaster at Airbus A320-200 which was operated by Indonesia AirAsia (QZ), a subsidiary of the company AirAsia. For this reason do not appear abundant statistical data on aircraft accidents worldwide. However, I promise you to write about this other issue as soon as possible. I will make a investigation about these accidents, and even I am going to compare them with terrestrial accidents.

    • profile image

      Merymull 2 years ago

      I would like to read more about aviation accidents. It would be interesting to know more these statistics. This article is already some time past.

    • liasagustin profile image

      Agustin Lias 3 years ago from 2222 Fillmore St, Hollywood, Fl. 33020

      Yeisel Lazara, all accidents are terrible! Ideally, no accidents were recorded. But, It can man achieve 0 accident in the future? Will the air transportation be which has more accidents? Will be the 2014 the worst year in aviation? Should we fear to the air transport more than other means? I am doing a research for answers to all the above questions? I invite you to be attentive to my next article.

    • profile image

      Yeisel Lazara 3 years ago

      The airline disasters stir and moisten the eyes. The planes cause chills me lately. I know it's inevitable, but 2014 was terrible for the Asian aviation. I do not know if 2014 was the worst year for global aviation, but if it was a terrible year. With reason many people are afraid to travel by plane.

    • profile image

      Agustin Lias 3 years ago

      Thanks. I appreciate your opinión.

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      Rufino Pavon 3 years ago

      Was very golf thid information