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Search For Missing AirAsia Plane On Hold Until Daybreak

The plane lost contact with air traffic control while flying from Indonesia to Singapore on Sunday, after requesting a "deviation" from the normal flight path due to weather conditions. More than 160 people were on board, the airline said.

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What we know:

* AirAsia flight QZ8510 lost contact with air traffic control Sunday while flying from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore.

* An Indonesia Transport Ministry official said they have halted the search for the day "because it was getting dark," but that they will resume the search at 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, local time, or even earlier "if the weather is good."

* Before the plane vanished, the Airbus A320-200 had requested a "deviation due to enroute weather."

* The airline said the plane was carrying a total of 162 people, including two pilots, four flight attendants, and an engineer.

* In an updated statement, AirAsia confirmed that a British citizen was among the passengers.

* An Indonesian vice president said it's "most possible" that the plane "experienced an accident."

An AirAsia plane lost contact with air traffic control Sunday while flying from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore.

Flight QZ 8501 lost contact at 7:24 a.m. local time, AirAsia confirmed in a statement posted to Facebook.

An initial search and rescue operation commenced after the plane vanished. The search stopped for the day at 5:30 p.m. local time due to darkness, according to an AFP report. "The weather was also not too good as it was getting really cloudy. Tomorrow we will begin at 7 am, or even earlier than that if the weather is good," Hadi Mustofa, an Indonesia Transport Ministry official, told AFP.

The plane was more than 200 nautical miles (230 miles) southeast of Singapore-Jakarta airspace when it disappeared, according to a statement from Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

When the mission resumes, the search area will be "very broad" with four sectors located over sea and land, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency said. The area will be 120 by 240 nautical miles.

"The first stage of the search will be conducted for seven days, after which we will evaluate," said the director of operations and exercises first marshal.

Before it vanished, the Airbus A320-200 had requested a "deviation due to enroute weather," according to the statement AirAsia posted on its Facebook page. The plane had been scheduled to land at 8:30 a.m. Singapore time.

The airline said the plane was carrying a total of 162 people, including two pilots, four flight attendants, and an engineer.

Of the passengers, 137 were adults and 16 were children. One passenger was an infant. There were two pilots, four cabin crew, and one engineer the airline said in a statement.

AirAsia disclosed the nationalities of passengers on board, saying there were 149 people from Indonesia, three from South Korea, one from Malaysia, one from Singapore, and one person from the United Kingdom.

They also disclosed the nationalities of the crew on board. Of the crew members, there were six people from Indonesia, and one person from France.

The captain has a total of 6,100 flying hours, while the first officer has 2,275 flying hours.

CNN described AirAsia as a popular regional budget carrier.

Several hours after air traffic control lost contact with the flight, family members of passengers gathered in the airports as they awaited information.

JUNI KRISWANTO/AFP / Getty Images

Family members of passengers of missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 gather at Juanda international airport in Surabaya in East Java, Indonesia, hours after the news the flight went missing Sunday.

JUNI KRISWANTO/AFP / Getty Images

Family members of passengers of missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 gather at Juanda international airport in Surabaya Sunday.

AP Photo/Trisnadi

A relative of Air Asia flight QZ8501 passengers weep as she waits for the latest news on the missing jetliner at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, on Sunday.

The Indonesia's Ministry of Transportation on Sunday released the names of everybody on the flight and a trim sheet with information about the plane.

World leaders announced they were monitoring the situation in the hours after the flight went missing.

President Obama was briefed on the plane late Saturday night, according to a statement from the White House.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak tweeted Sunday that his country was ready to help in the search. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla tweeted Sunday that he hoped the passengers and crew would be found. And Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia's Minister of Transport, announced that he too had been briefed and was monitoring the situation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his condolences on Twitter.

Our hearts and hopes are with the passengers and families of AirAsia QZ8501.

John Kerry@JohnKerryFollow

Our hearts and hopes are with the passengers and families of AirAsia QZ8501.

10:40 AM - 28 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Currently at @airasia HQ to support our team in this moment of crisis. Let us lend our support to them #PrayForQZ8501

Liow Tiong Lai@liowtionglaiFollow

Currently at @airasia HQ to support our team in this moment of crisis. Let us lend our support to them #PrayForQZ8501

11:14 PM - 27 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Called Pres @jokowi_do2 to offer help. Two RSAF C-130 search & locate aircrafts are on standby. Our ministers will follow up. - LHL #QZ8501

Lee Hsien Loong@leehsienloongFollow

Called Pres @jokowi_do2 to offer help. Two RSAF C-130 search & locate aircrafts are on standby. Our ministers will follow up. - LHL #QZ8501

11:32 PM - 27 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joined the world leaders offer assistance Sunday, adding that she had personally spoken to Indonesian authorities.

Airbus also announced on Twitter that it was assessing the situation.

The plane's disappearance comes less than eight months after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished from over the South China Sea. That plane remains missing.

Later Sunday, the electronic arrival board at Singapore's Changi Airport directed people waiting for the flight to "go to info counter."

This is AirAsia's updated statement on the plane that disappeared Sunday morning:

AirAsia Indonesia would like to issue a correction on the nationality breakdown of passenger and crew on board QZ8501 as follows:

Nationalities of passengers:
1 Singapore
1 Malaysia
3 South Korea
1 United Kingdom
149 Indonesia

Nationalities of crew:
1 France
6 Indonesia

AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, www.airasia.com.

This is the entire statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS):

An Indonesia AirAsia aircraft, QZ8501, scheduled to arrive at 0830 hours local time from Surabaya, lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 0724 hours local time today. Singapore air traffic control was informed of this loss of contact at 0754 hours by Jakarta air traffic control. The aircraft was in the Indonesian Flight Information Region (FIR) when contact was lost, more than 200 nm southeast of the Singapore-Jakarta FIR boundary.

Search and rescue operations have been activated by the Indonesian authorities from the Pangkal Pinang Search and Rescue office.

The Singapore Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and supported by various agencies, including the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), has also been activated and has offered help to the Indonesian authorities. Two C130s are already on stand-by for this purpose. We remain ready to provide any assistance to support the search and rescue effort.

The CAAS and Changi Airport Group (CAG) Crisis Management Centres have already been activated. We are working with the airline's crisis management team.

A waiting area, and all necessary facilities and support have been set up for relatives and friends of the affected passengers at Changi Airport Terminal 2 (Level 3).

Further updates will be provided once more information is available.

Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, confirmed that two aircraft were standing by to participate in the search for the missing plane.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes released the following statement:

#QZ8501 Holding statement from AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes just now:

John Walton@thatjohnFollow

#QZ8501 Holding statement from AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes just now:

8:42 AM - 28 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

According to the BBC, the UK Foreign Office have confirmed that a British national was on board the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501.

The Foreign Office say that next of kin has been informed.

Liow Tiong Lai, the Minister Of Transport, Malaysia, says that they have deployed assistance for the search operation.

Malaysia deployed 3 vessels & 3 aircraft to assist Indonesian-led search ops for #QZ8501

Liow Tiong Lai@liowtionglaiFollow

Malaysia deployed 3 vessels & 3 aircraft to assist Indonesian-led search ops for #QZ8501

10:56 AM - 28 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke to Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, offering assistance in the search for the missing AirAsia plane.

I’ve spoken to President Widodo tonight to convey Australia’s sadness at the #AirAsia #QZ8501 tragedy and offered all we can to assist

Tony Abbott@TonyAbbottMHRFollow

I’ve spoken to President Widodo tonight to convey Australia’s sadness at the #AirAsia #QZ8501 tragedy and offered all we can to assist

10:46 AM - 28 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

This is a developing story. Check back and follow @BuzzFeedNews on Twitter for updates.

This post has been updated to reflect AirAsia's corrected list of passenger nationalities.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.

Stacy-Marie Ishmael is the Managing Editor for mobile at BuzzFeed News.

Contact Stacy-Marie Ishmael at smi@buzzfeed.com.

Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rossalyn Warren at rossalyn.warren@buzzfeed.com.

Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tom Namako at tom.namako@buzzfeed.com.

Contact Ali Vingiano at alison.vingiano@buzzfeed.com.

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