AirAsia flight QZ8501: Briton on board missing plane named in reports as businessman Chi Man Choi

The Foreign Office said the British national's next of kin have been informed

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The Independent Online

A British national who was on board the AirAsia flight that disappeared early on Sunday has been identified in local media reports as the Singapore-based businessman Chi Man Choi.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed that a Briton was among the 162 people who went missing when the jet lost contact with air traffic controllers at 7.24am (11.24pm) local time. A spokesperson said the individual's next of kin had been informed.

According to Channel News Asia, the passenger manifest for missing flight QZ8501 lists Mr Choi as the only UK citizen on the plane at the time.

Indonesian media reports identified Mr Choi as the managing director of an energy company, who had been living in Singapore with his family and was travelling on QZ8501 with his two-year-old daughter.

MissingPlaneMAP.jpg
A map of where the AirAsia flight QZ8501 went missing

Mr Choi's LinkedIn account says he was born in Hull, and graduated from the University of Essex in 1988.

There were conflicting reports earlier on Sunday after the Malaysia-based airline released the passenger roster, showing the nationalities of those on board as 149 Indonesians, three South Koreans and one French, Malaysian and Singaporean.

But Trikora Raharjo, the general manager of Surabaya's Juanda airport, told Associated Press reporters that a British national was also among them.

An FCO spokesman said: "We are aware of an incident regarding AirAsia flight QZ8501.

"Our thoughts are with the passengers' families as they await further news.

"We have been informed by the local authorities that one British national was on board. Their next of kin has been informed, and we stand ready to provide consular assistance."

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Jakarta said it was working with local authorities to establish further details.

AirAsia has since issued an updated breakdown of passenger nationalities, including "1 United Kingdom" and reflecting the fact that the co-pilot was a French national.

When it disappeared, the Airbus A320-200 was carrying 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant, and seven crew, including two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer, were on the flight.

AirAsia's chief executive is Tony Fernandes, who also owns Premier League football team Queens Park Rangers.

Mr Fernandes said he was on his way to Surabaya airport. He said: "My only thoughts are with the passengers and my crew.

"We put our hope in the SAR (search and rescue) operation and thank the Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysian governments."

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