AirAsia Passengers Who Missed Flight 8501 Share Shock, Relief

Passengers who were supposed to be on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 shocked, grateful.

ByABC News
December 29, 2014, 5:04 PM

— -- It has been more than 48 hours since AirAsia Flight QZ8501 disappeared over the Java Sea, and while the search continues for the missing, there are lucky ones.

Twenty-three people who were scheduled to be the plane did not get on.

"Thanks, God," said Nicole Go, one of the passengers who was scheduled to be on Flight QZ8501. "We were supposed to be on that flight on the 28th. It's eerie."

Go took a later flight after a wedding she had attended ran late.

Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control in Jakarta, Indonesia, at 6:17 a.m. Sunday local time near Belitung Island, Indonesia, after the flight left Surabaya, Indonesia, Indonesian Air Transport Director Djoko Murjatmodjo said during a news conference.

The plane vanished shortly after the pilots requested a change of flight plan because of weather, officials said.

The flight, which was headed to Singapore, had at least 162 people on board.

Two days of searching the waters around Belitung Island haven't turned up any significant breakthroughs, but search crews plan to spend a third day focusing on utilizing foreign vessels with sonar capabilities, officials said.

Another family said 10 of them were supposed to fly to Singapore for New Year's Eve, but they all arrived late at the airport and missed the flight. "My mother can't stop crying," Anggi Mahesti said in a text message to ABC News. "This is a special Christmas gift from God that we missed the flight.

“We are so thankful to our God,” she added.

Chandra Susanto was also supposed to be on the plane. He posted prayers of gratitude on Facebook, saying he was supposed to fly with his wife and their three kids, but they canceled when his father fell ill.

"Thank you, Jesus," Susanto posted. "Your plan is so beautiful. Our family avoided ... awful danger."

But for many families of the missing, not knowing what happened to their loved ones is agonizing. In the Singapore Changi Airport, Louise Sidharta was waiting for word of her fiance and five members of his family, who were all on vacation together.

"It was supposed to be their last vacation before... before [we] got married," Sidharta said. "It was supposed to be his last vacation with his family."

She wasn't alone. For the dozens of people who were huddled in Singapore Changi Airport waiting rooms, there is nothing to do now but continue to wait, and pray. They scan the manifest, looking for familiar names.

"It's life,” one family member of a missing passenger said. “We don't know what's going to happen.”