Missing AirAsia Jet: Inside the Search Area

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane shortly after takeoff.

— -- While the search for missing AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 has been suspended, the area being focused on is notorious for its bad weather.

It is wet season now in southeast Asia and this poses regular challenges for airlines trying to fly across the region. Thunderstorms were reported in the area - with clouds up to 50,000 feet - when air traffic controllers lost contact with the jet, according to the Indonesian transport ministry.

The area where the flight lost contact lies between the Indonesian islands of Java, Kalimantan and Sumatra. Indonesia is a vast archipelago made up of thousands of islands, so there will be many tiny islands and small communities dotted through this search area.

Authorities will be hoping to get information from residents in these locations, but communications in remote parts of Indonesia are often difficult, particularly during bad weather.

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