Worried families and friends of the 162 people aboard Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 will have to wait at least another day to learn their fates after authorities suspended the search for QZ8501 overnight, the Associated Press reported. The flight was headed to the Singapore Changi Airport from the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia, when it went missing early Sunday.
Weather could have played a role in the airplane’s disappearance, with reports of heavy thunderstorms in the area.
Divided by distance but united by their worry, groups of those concerned about the missing 155 passengers and seven crew members formed at the beginning and end points of QZ8501’s planned flight path, according to the New Zealand Herald and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, respectively.
Alain Oktavianus Siaun, his three brothers and his parents are believed to be among those aboard the missing Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501. They had been on a family vacation before Siaun’s impending marriage. His fiance, Louise Sidharta, 25, was on her way to first catch a separate flight at the Juanda airport and then meet up with him in Singapore when she learned of the disappearance of QZ8501, the Star/Asia News Network reported. “My heart knew by then that my fiance was on that flight,” Sidharta told reporters at the Singapore airport, according to AsiaOne. Accompanied by her sister and several other relatives, she will stay at the airport awaiting news about the missing flight.
AirAsia Bhd. CEO Tony Fernandes expressed his company’s concern about those in similar situations via Twitter:
Our priority is looking after all the next of Kin for my staff and passangers. We will do whatever we can. ... http://t.co/6BFsUR7zDS
— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) December 28, 2014
A crisis center has been created at the Juanda airport where family members and friends can read the passenger manifest and get updates on the search efforts launched by Singapore and Indonesia. Dozens of relatives and friends are currently at the airport, with AP reporting some were crying while others were on mobile phones.
AirAsia has established five emergency hotlines -- an emergency center line and local numbers for Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.
In the early stages of the search for QZ8501, family members and friends remain optimistic. “We have to stay positive and hope that they [our loved ones] could be found soon,” Sidharta said.