REPORTING FROM SINGAPORE [All times, unless otherwise specified, are in GMT+8]
In the morning of Sunday, 28 December 2014, an AirAsia Airbus A320 commercial jetliner took off from Surabaya's Juanda International Airport at about 5:30am Indonesia time, bound for Singapore's Changi Airport.
It was due to land at 8:30am Singapore time, but Indonesia's air traffic control lost contact with the plan about an hour after it took off. Here, we bring you more information and the stories of some of the 162 people on board the plane.
Sister finds out brother was on the plane through a selfie
Hendra Gunawan Syawal, 23, and his two friends were on their way to Singapore for a short New Year's getaway on board AirAsia's flight QZ8501. His sister, Yunita Syawal, 25, had only discovered that he was one of the passengers of the plane through a selfie sent by a friend. She said that her brother would usually inform her of his travels, but had not done so this time.
"Even after days, we still kept thinking he's alive, but now that we have seen his body, we know he's gone for sure," said Yunita.
The family is now focusing on sending the body to his last resting place. More details here.
Girl loses entire family in tragedy
A 15-year-old Indonesian teenager had just moved to Singapore to study on a scholarship. Chiara Natasha's parents and two brothers were flying from Surabaya to visit her, promising to spend the New Year with her. Her aunt says Chiara will eventually return to Singapore to study. More details here.
A church in Surabaya lost 41 members of its congregation in the crash
41 passengers - Indonesian Christians of Chinese descent - were members of Surabaya's Mawar Sharon church, a megachurch that has about 30,000 members. Many of the church members enjoyed travelling to Singapore. More in this story.
First passenger identified and buried
Hayati Lutfiah Hamid, 49, was buried on Thursday after her body was formally identified through fingerprints and personal effects. She was travelling to Singapore with three other family members. More in this story.
Indonesian student would have turned 21 on 1 January
Student Kevin Alexander Soetjipto was a student at Monash University. Reportedly identified through an identity card in his wallet, he was due to graduate in 2015. Monash University expressed its condolences on its Facebook page and have offered counselling support for students and staff.
British passenger was travelling with Singaporean two-year-old daughter
The sole Briton on board the flight was identified in local media reports as Choi Chi Man, an energy executive. He was travelling to Singapore with his two-year-old Singaporean daughter Zoe, and they were the first two names listed in the passenger manifest, placed in the first row in seats 1B and 1C.
According to his brother, quoted in British media, he had just started a new job in Indonesia and was travelling back to Singapore to meet his mother, wife and son, who had arrived here on an earlier flight. More in this story.
Indonesian passenger is St. Andrew's Junior College student
An Indonesian passenger on board the plane is, according to The Straits Times, a Singapore Ministry of Education scholarship holder and a current student at St. Andrew's Junior College (SAJC).
Nico Giovanni, 18, has been studying in Singapore since he enrolled in the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in Secondary 3, and had just completed his first year at SAJC. He was travelling to Singapore with his family, the newspaper reported.
Indonesian biology teacher at Singapore top junior college also on plane
Among the passengers on board the flight is 26-year-old Florentina Maria Widodo, an A-level biology teacher at Singapore's Hwa Chong Institution.
Widodo's background was reportedly confirmed by her Singaporean boyfriend, Andy Paul Chen, who was at Changi Airport with his parents to travel to Surabaya to join Widodo's family. More here.
Three South Koreans were bound for Singapore to renew visas
The three South Korean passengers on board the flight were a Christian missionary family headed to Singapore on a routine trip to renew their visas, as they were unable to obtain missionary visas — Indonesia does not issue them to foreigners.
According to The Straits Times, Park Seong Beom, his wife Lee Kyung Hwa and their 11-month-old daughter Park Yu Na were on the plane, having received confirmation from South Korea's foreign ministry. Park was sent to Indonesia three years ago on mission, and married his wife a year later. Read more here.
Indonesian passenger was headed to vacation with fiancée in Singapore
One of the Indonesian passengers on board was headed to Singapore, with his family, to join his fiancée for a short vacation here, before they were due to marry in May next year.
Louise Sidharta, 25, told media at Changi Airport that her fiancé, 27-year-old Alain Oktavianus Siaun, was on the plane with his parents and three brothers. She was booked on a later flight, and was supposed to meet up with the family in Singapore. Read more here.
Indonesian tour guide had 20 holidaymakers with her
The parents of an Indonesian tour guide on board QZ8501 said their daughter was travelling to Singapore and then Malaysia with 20 people under her charge. Read more here.
Sole Malaysian on board is husband of local university lecturer
The sole Malaysian on board the flight was confirmed to be the husband of a Malaysian university lecturer, reports Bernama news agency.
The Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Sarawak said in a statement on Monday that the passenger named Sii Chung Huei is the husband of Assoc Prof Annie Wong Muk Ngiik, a senior lecturer at its faculty of business and management. Read more here.
AirAsia pilot described as a caring man
Captain Iriyanto, the lead pilot of the missing plane, is by all intents and purposes an experienced one, having clocked some 6,100 hours of flying time in his career.
His nephew, speaking to Indonesian news portal detik.com, described him as a very caring man who never failed to help people in need. He also said Iriyanto is married with two school-going children, and his wife does not have a job. Read more here.
His daughter also took to social media platform Path with a poignant appeal to her father, asking him to return safely. Read Angela's message here.
His father also spoke to the BBC, appealing for his son to return safely:
French co-pilot of missing jet was working at his dream job
The sister of Remi Plesel, the French co-pilot of the AirAsia jet that has disappeared with 162 people on board, paid tribute Monday to an "excellent" pilot who had dreamed of flying as a boy.
Aviation was his "passion", his sister Renee told French radio station RTL. Read more here.
AirAsia stewardess Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi would phone home four times a day
Also on the plane was AirAsia stewardess Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi, 22, affectionately known as "Nisa", whose family hopes that the female cabin crew member's body that was found belongs to her.
"If they are saying they have found the body of one of the air stewardess, then we hope it is our little sister," her brother M. Ikhsan Nul Kamil told Indonesian news portal detik.com.
He described Nisa as a cheerful person who got along easily with others, and was helpful and caring towards family members.
She studied law at Universitas Sriwijaya, and joined AirAsia last year. Read more here.
To return to our ongoing coverage of the search for the missing plane, click here.