Early Last Sunday morning 28 Dec 2014. I received an alert from both BBC and CNN that Air Asia flight QZ 8501, an Airbus A320-200 , had disappeared from the radar screen of air traffic control tower about 45 minutes after take off from Surabaya in Indonesia enroute to Singapore. There were 155 passengers on board with seven crew. Oh Gosh, not another one! Was my immediate response. Though the plane is an Indonesian entity, a Malaysian has a 49% interest in the business and the name of Air Asia is given to the company albeit almost all the crew are in effect Indonesian.
My heart goes out to the relatives of those passengers and crew. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
The plane was said to be flying through turbulent weather over the Java Sea and there was a request by the pilot to divert the route before it went out of the radar. After 48 hours, you kind of have that omen that this was not going to be good news. The CEO of Air Asia company, Tony Fernandes has taken to twitter to communicate with his staff and the relatives of the passengers and crew. According to him this incident is his worst nightmare. Yes I would imagine so. In fact all corporate owners of commercial aircraft would similarly label this kind of disaster.
Indeed, the year 2014 has proven to be a disastrous year for the aviation industry, starting with the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 with 239 people on board then less than six months later, another MAS flight MH17 with 298 people was shot down over Ukraine. And now this latest air accident.
I am guilty of being superstitious. I don’t like the number “4” which sounds like “death” in our Chinese dialect. In 2004 we had the greatest tsunami in living memory and there were massive death and destruction. We have just remembered those who perished in that natural disaster 10 years ago. And in the twilight of this very year 2014, Malaysia is also inundated with a great flood, incidentally the worst in living memory. These are just pure coincidences but I am really anxious for that 2014 sunset I am watching from the comfort of my holiday beach to disappear forever.
At the point of writing the plane has not been recovered. Based on the plane’s last known coordinates, the aircraft probably crashed into the water and “is at the bottom of the sea,” Indonesia search-and-rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said (BBC News). Tony Fernandes has not yet given up and still praying for a miracle and at this moment, I am praying with him.