Indonesia called off until first light a search for an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board that went missing on Sunday after pilots asked to change course to avoid bad weather during a flight from Indonesia's Surabaya city to Singapore.
The disappearance Sunday of AirAsia Flight 8501 was the third air incident this year involving Malaysia, where budget carrier AirAsia in based.
A search operation in the Java Sea for a missing AirAsia plane with 162 passengers and crew aboard has been scaled back for the night, set to fully resume at daybreak Monday.
Indonesia AirAsia flight 8501 departed Surabaya for Singapore's Changi airport on what should have been a two-hour flight over the Java Sea.
It disappeared at 7:24 a.m. Sunday, local time, about 42 minutes into its flight and nearly halfway to its destination.
The director general of aviation for Indonesia's transportation ministry, Djoko Atmojio, told reporters that the last transmission from a crew member on the Airbus came at 6:12 a.m. local time (Sunday) and no distress signal was subsequently received.
He said the pilot stated that he was trying to avoid clouds and was moving left of the intended route and requested permission to climb (1,800 meters higher) to nearly 11,600 meters (38,000 feet).
A few minutes later the plane disappeared from radar and no contact was re-established.
There were thunderstorms with lightning reported in that vicinity, along with wind shears.
Indonesia AirAsia is 49 percent owned by Malaysia-based AirAsia. The low-cost AirAsia family of airlines, serving more than 100 destinations in 22 countries, has had a good safety reputation with no fatalities since beginning operations 18 years ago.