(Please note, this matter is not currently being litigated in Australia)On 28 December, 2014 at 7:24 AM local time Air Asia flight QZ8501, a scheduled Airbus A320 flight from Surabaya, Indonesia's Juanda International Airport to Singapore's Changi Airport, lost contact with air-traffic control.
This second disappearance of a Malaysian branded airline's aircraft within Southeast Asia has left the international community in consternation and bewilderment once again.
For families of those affected by the MH370 disaster in March 2014, it has brought back the terrors of their earlier and ongoing experiences.
While it is thought that severe thunderstorms in the waters east of Sumatra are most likely to blame for the disappearance and potential crash of the aircraft, it is still too early to know anything except the flight and its 155 passengers and 7 crew, are missing and, as at 6:00pm Australian eastern time on 28 December, the aircraft has now passed its fuel endurance time.
Indonesian and Malaysia media this afternoon reported that an aircraft had crashed east of Sumatra near to an island, however those reports remain unconfirmed.
All that is known for sure is that the captain had over 6000 hours of flying experience, the first officer over 2000 hours, and the passengers were predominantly Indonesian, with three Korean, one Singaporean and one French and also one Malaysian onboard. Heavy thunderstorms were reported in the vicinity of the last know verified position of the aircraft.
The aircraft was a relatively new A320-216 registered in Indonesia as PK-AXC and was delivered to Air Asia Indonesia in 2008. It has CFM engines (French/US origin).
Pursuant to Annex 13 of the Chicago Convention, when an aircraft is missing or likely crashed in international waters, chief responsibility for search and rescue/investigation goes to the nation which registered the aircraft. In this instance that is Indonesia, and the Indonesian authorities have recruited the assistance of Singapore thus far to participate and assist with the search.
Shine Lawyers Aviation Department is monitoring progress of the search and rescue operation, and will report with updates as more information comes to light.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: December 28, 2014.