Indonesian President Urges Prayers for Missing AirAsia Plane

Indonesian President Urges Prayers for Missing AirAsia Plane

Nine months after Malaysia Airlines flight 370 went missing in the Indian Ocean, another Asian plane has disappeared. AirAsia flight 8501 went missing at 32,000 feet Sunday morning (Dec. 28) after the pilot reported severe turbulence while traveling over the Java Sea. 

Officials have been searching the area for plane debris since air traffic controllers lost contact with the jet. Oil and some other objects have been discovered and are currently undergoing testing to determine if they belong to flight 8501. 

Authorities remain hopeful that the plane will be found. The search will be easier than that of flight 370 because the Java Sea is close to land and much shallower than the Indian Ocean.

Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency said that authorities believe the plane sunk in the Java Sea. "We currently suspect that plane is located on the ocean floor," Soelistyo in a news conference statement.

Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has urged citizens to pray for those on board the flight. Pope Francis also said that the passengers and crew members were in his prayers during his Sunday address at the Vatican. 

ABC News reports there were 155 passengers and seven crew members on board. 

Publication date: December 29, 2014