Desperate Search for Missing Air Asia Flight 8501

Indonesia says it will have a dozen ships, 3 helicopters, and 5 aircraft searching.
5:52 | 12/29/14

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Transcript for Desperate Search for Missing Air Asia Flight 8501
A desperate rescue effort. A burning ferry off the coast of Greece. Right now, hundreds of passengers are trapped. We begin with the urgent search for this missing Asia jet, 8501. The terrible weather there when the plane went missing, a possible factor. Fierce thunderstorms, towering clouds, ferocious winds and the agonizing wait for the family members, 162 people on board including 16 children and an infant. All of this just nine months of Malaysian airlines flight 370 disappeared. So many asking, how can it happen again. We have team coverage tonight with David Kerley. Reporter: It's the early morning hours in Indonesia, the launch of the first full day of searching for the jet liner which just vanished from radar screens. This tonight, another missing jet liner from southeast Asia. Air area flight 8501. Within hours, Indonesia says it will have a dozen ships, three helicopters and aircraft looking for the possible wreckage floating on the java sea. Relative at airports still hold out hope. We cannot lose hope. Reporter: Just after 5:30 in the morning the nearly full airbus jet liner took off from the airport heading northwest to Singapore. But over the java sea, the jet liner has heavy weather, turbulence. At 6:12, the pilot radios he wants to turn to go around the weather and climbs from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet. It is his last contact. Five minutes later, 41 minutes into the flight, the flight disappeared off the Indonesian radar. According to that country's transport ministry. It's too early to speculate. But the one thing that was here last night that was not present in the Malaysian plane was bad weather. Reporter: The Malaysian businessman who started the low cost carrier, air Asia, tweeted this is my worst nightmare. Before he flew to Malaysia. A deep sense of depression here, but we will stay strong. Reporter: The airlines and the crew have a high record. 16 children, passengers mostly from Indonesia. Relatives could not contain their fears awaiting for word. Louise is waiting for her fiance. Who is traveling with his family. The last vacation before us got married. Reporter: So tonight, another mysterious missing jet liner in southeast area. Just nine months ago, flight 370 disappeared and is thought to be in the Indian ocean off Australia. In this case, the aircraft, if it went down, it did so in the java sea. The java sea is not that deep and the bottom has been very well mapped. Reporter: While the search effort is just moving in high gear, the effort will be growing. Singapore sending ships and has err craft working the search area. So far no clues. Tom? So many questions tonight, David, thank you. We want to turn to ABC news contributor and fighter pilot Steve danyard for more. I want to focus on the plane. A relatively new airbus, only six years old. Aren't they built to fly through any type of weather? Well, they are. It's a very good airplane. It's a strong airplane. It's got excellent weather radar on board. It's quite a mystery. It's hard to imagine how a thunderstorm would bring down an airplane with as experienced as the crew is. I think we will probably find that weather was a contributing factor but was not probably the sole reason it was brought down. Anything that concerns you? One is the lack of data. The last hit was at 32,000 feet and then the airplane disappear. Is there's only a couple things that can make that happen. A catastrophic failure. A wing comes off, a bomb blows up. Other than that, we should have more data. It's confusing why doe V we don't see that now. And another thing, another airplane that is lost, and nine months later, in this day and age, we should not be losing airplanes. ABC news contributor, Steve, thank you. Let's go back to the bad weather factor. ABC news' senior meteorologist rob Marciano joins us now. We know the pilots asked to climb up to 38,000 feet. What type of weather they experiencing? The rainy season across Indonesia and it's active now. Take a look at the satellite picture when the plane went missing. And the pulses of powerful thunderstorms inside the clouds. You have big time vertical winds, lightning. Even some icing conditions. I want to show you a cross section of the atmosphere. The plane at 32,000 feet. They asked to go to 38,000 feet. The problem, some of the thunderstorms were going to 50,000 feet and they can go as high as 70,000 feet. It's difficult to go around them. As for the search, the thunderstorms tend to die down a bit in night. We are getting to morning. The sun about to come up. The next few hours are critical in the search. That is promising news with the weather. Back here at home? What we we look like in the week ahead? We have know problems. Oklahoma, problems on the roadways here. They had six inches so far this year. That is more than Chicago and Boston. We have winter storm watches and snow expected in the mountain west. The bigger story is going to be the intense cold dropping across the south. Teens and 20s and single digits and temperatures will be below zero come Monday morning. Even new year's eve in Las Vegas could see snow. 2015 will come in cold. Rob, thank you. And rough weather is playing

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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