Malaysia-based AirAsia announced on December 28 that it launched a search operation for its plane with 162 passengers and crew members on board that went missing in bad weather en route from Indonesia to Singapore earlier the day.

It said it has set up a hotline and an emergency call centre for the passengers’ families and relatives.

According to the Singaporean Civil Aviation Authority, the contact was lost about 42 minutes after the jetliner took off from Surabaya airport in Indonesia.

Later the day, AirAsia representatives in Indonesia announced information on the all 155 passengers and seven crew members on board Flight QZ8501.

The airline said 156 of those were Indonesians, with three people of the Republic of Korean and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and France.

Ships and planes have been deployed to the area where the aircraft was lost contact.

In March, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Months later, MH17 went down in July in the eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on board.-VNA