Indonesian divers located parts of the wreckage of a Boeing 737-500 at a depth of 75 feet in the Java Sea on Sunday, a day after the plane with 62 people on board lost contact with controllers airplanes after take off from the Indonesian capital, officials said. .
“We have received reports from the diving team that the visibility in the water is good and clear, allowing the discovery of parts of the plane,” said Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto in a statement. “We’re sure that’s when the plane crashed.”
Sriwijaya Air flight # SJ182, a Boeing 737-500, took off from Jakarta around 1:56 p.m. local time and lost contact with the control tower at 2:40 p.m., Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokeswoman Adita Irawati said.
The plane’s route was estimated to be a 90-minute flight to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. There were 56 passengers and six crew on board.
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“We are aware of media reports from Jakarta regarding Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182,” Boeing said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the crew, passengers and their families. We are in contact with our airline customers and are ready to support them in this difficult period. “
The Boeing 737-500 lost more than 10,000 feet above sea level within one minute, four minutes after departure, according to flight tracking service FlightRadar24.com. The plane’s last known altitude was 250 feet, with its highest altitude being 10,900 feet, the service reported.
A plane flying from Jakarta to Pontianak was passing most of the flight over the Java Sea.
Fishermen in the Thousand Islands region, a chain of islands north of the Jakarta coast, reported hearing an explosion around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We heard something explode, we thought it was a bomb or a tsunami, because after that we saw the big splash of water,” said fisherman Solihin, who bears a name, at the ‘Associated Press by phone.
“It was raining heavily and the weather was so bad. It is therefore difficult to see the surroundings clearly. But we can see the splash and a big wave after the sounds. We were very shocked and saw the wreckage of the plane and the fuel around our boat directly.
TV footage showed relatives and friends of people on the plane crying, praying and kissing while they waited at airports in Jakarta and Pontianak.
According to the BBC, the Boeing 737 is not a Max, the aircraft that has been involved in a few major crashes. The South China Morning Post reported that the missing Sriwijaya Air plane was around 26 years old.
Sriwijaya Air is one of Indonesia’s low cost carriers, serving dozens of domestic and international destinations.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with more than 260 million inhabitants, has been plagued by land, sea and air transport accidents due to overcrowded ferries, aging infrastructure and safety standards poorly applied.
In October 2018, a Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. It was the worst air disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda flight near Medan on the island of Sumatra. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing 162 people.
Search for Sriwijaya Air flight 182
Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said a dozen ships, including four warships, had been deployed in a search and rescue operation centered between Lancang Island and Laki Island, a part of the Thousand Islands chain just north of Jakarta.
Bambang Suryo Aji, deputy chief of operations and preparedness at the National Search and Rescue Agency, said rescuers collected plane debris and clothing found by fishermen. They turned the items over to the National Transportation Safety Committee for further investigation to determine if they came from the missing plane.
A commander of one of the search and rescue vessels with only one name, Eko, said fishermen found cables and pieces of metal in the water.
“The fishermen told us they found them shortly after hearing an explosion like the sound of thunder,” said Eko quoted by TVOne, adding that aviation fuel was found where the fishermen had found the debris.
Aji said no beacon signal was detected from the 26-year-old plane. He said his agency was investigating why the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter, or ELT, was not transmitting a signal that could confirm if it had crashed.
“The satellite system belonging to neighboring Australia also failed to pick up the missing aircraft’s ELT signal,” Aji said.
Contribuer: The Associated Press
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