The New Bermuda Triangle: Another Plane Disappears

Another plane in Asia, this one carrying 162 people, has disappeared.

Numerous aircraft and ship spent hours searching waters off the coast of Indonesia but turned up no signs of an AirAsia plane that disappeared Sunday in foul weather, with reports of dense storm clouds, strong winds and lightning. The search was called off for darkness but will resume Monday.

The plane took off Sunday morning from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, and was halfway to its destination, Singapore, when it vanished.

According to the Associated Press: “The last communication between the pilot and air traffic control was at 6:13 a.m. (2313 GMT Saturday), when the pilot “asked to avoid clouds by turning left and going higher to 34,000 feet (10,360 meters).” It was last seen on radar at 6:16 a.m., and a minute later was no longer there, Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia’s acting director general of transportation, told reporters.

More than 12 hours later, shocked family members huddled at the Surabaya airport from where the Airbus A320 had taken off, awaiting any news of the jetliner.

Air Asia group CEO Tony Fernandes flew to Surabaya and said at a press conference that that the focus should be on the search and the families.

‘We have no idea at the moment what went wrong,’ said Fernandes, a Malaysian businessman who founded the regional low-cost carrier in 2001. ‘Let’s not speculate at the moment.’

It is the third major aviation incident involving Malaysia this year. In March, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people, and in July, a jet from the same airline was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard.

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