• Breaking News

    Sunday, December 28, 2014

    Relatives wait for updates on missing Air Asia flight at Singapore Airport

    Tobapos -- Some of the relatives and friends of affected passengers onboard the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 arrived at the designated relatives' area at Singapore's Changi Airport for updates on Sunday.

    The relatives started to show up at a specially designated area for families and friends of the affected passengers in the airport 's Terminal 2 around noon. Changi Airport Group said in the evening that 47 relatives and friends of 57 passengers onboard the missing flight had registered for help at the airport.

    One of them who did not give her name said that she had four relatives onboard the flight, including a 12-year-old and a 17- year-old. Another said that her fiance and his family members were on the missing flight.

    "Arrangements for local accommodation or for travel to Indonesia have been made for the next-of-kin," Changi Airport Group said in a statement.

    Low Swee Seh, chief of a local non-profit health service provider, said some people from his organization stood ready to offer counselling services to families of the affected passengers.

    Authorities said there were 162 people, including 155 passengers, onboard the missing flight. One hundred and fifty-six of them were Indonesian nationals, and there were also a Singaporean national, a Malaysian national, a French and three South Korean nationals.

    The Singapore authority said that the flight was in Indonesian flight information region (FIR) when it lost contact with air traffic authorities on Sunday morning.

    "The aircraft was in the Indonesian Flight Information Region ( FIR) when contact was lost, more than 200 nautical miles (about 370 km) southeast of the Singapore-Jakarta FIR boundary," it said in a statement.

    A flight information region (FIR) is a system of air space division to coordinate the provision of flight information and alerting services. It has nothing to do with sovereign claims over air or maritime space.

    The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore also said that search and rescue operations had been activated by the Indonesian authorities from the Pangkal Pinang Search and Rescue office. Judging from the map, the plane was most probably near the Bangka- Belitung Islands of Indonesia when it lost contact with air traffic control.

    The Singapore Rescue Coordination Center has also been activated and has offered help to Indonesian authorities. (ant/adm)

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