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As news broke on Saturday night of a missing AirAsia plane with 161 people aboard, cable networks shifted programming plans and broke in with coverage.
CNN switched over to its breaking news desk with aviation correspondent Richard Quest on the line by phone. Fox News broke in with a news desk breaking update but then returned to the regularly scheduled episode of Huckabee.
MSNBC broke into coverage of Lockup to news coverage of the missing airliner with airline expert Anthony Roman on the phone. Al Jazeera America was also airing live coverage of the missing plane.
The plane lost contact with ground control on Sunday after takeoff from Indonesia on the way to Singapore, and search and rescue operations were underway.
The plane lost communication with Jakarta’s air traffic control at 7:24 a.m., about an hour before it was scheduled to land in Singapore, the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. The contact was lost about 42 minutes after takeoff from Indonesia’s Surabaya airport, Hadi Mustofa, an official of the transportation ministry told Indonesia’s MetroTV.
AirAsia said in a statement that the plane was an Airbus A320-200 and that search and rescue operations were in progress.
The plane had six crew and 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant, the general manager of Surabaya’s Juanda airport, Trikora Raharjo, told The Associated Press.
There were six foreigners — three South Koreans including an infant and one each from Singapore, British and Malaysia, said Raharjo. The rest were Indonesians, he said.
The plane lost contact when it was believed to be over the Java Sea between Kalimantan and Java islands, Mustofa said.
He said the weather in the area was cloudy.
The Singapore aviation authority said it was informed about the missing plane by Jakarta ground control about half an hour after the contact was lost.
“Search and rescue operations have been activated by the Indonesian authorities,” it said, adding that the Singapore air force and the navy also were activated with two C-130 planes.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this article.
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