Indonesia: Sriwijaya Air plane missing shortly after takeoff

Indonesia: Sriwijaya Air plane missing shortly after takeoff

 

A Sriwijaya Air plane lost contact shortly after takeoff from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Saturday, according to government spokesman Adita Irawati.

“The missing plane is currently under investigation and under coordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee,” Irawati said in a statement.

Tracking showed the path of flight SJ182 ending off the coast just north of Jakarta after losing altitude.

What we know so far:

  • The plane was flying from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport to Pontianak, the provincial capital of West Kalimantan.
  • The flight last made contact at 2:40 p.m. (0740 UTC)
  • There were at least 59 on board, including five children and a baby, reported Indonesian newspaper Republika.
  • There were two pilots and four cabin crew on board, reported Indonesia’s
  • The plane lost more than 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) of altitude in less than a minute, reported flight tracker website FlightRadar24.
  • The plane model was a Boeing 737-500.
  • A Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 lost contact after taking off from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta

Has the plane crashed?

There are no official confirmations of a crash.

The Regent of the Thousand Islands said he had information that “something fell and exploded on Male Island,” in comments to Indonesian newspaper Merdeka.

Previously, the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Branch Communications Manager Haerul Anwar said that the Sriwijaya Air plane had lost contact around Lancang Island — part of the Thousand Islands chain.

Unconfirmed images of small debris fished from the water were broadcast by local media.

“We found some cables, a piece of jeans, and pieces of metal on the water,” CNN Indonesia reported, citing Zulkifli, a security official.

A patrol boat from the Ministry of Transportation found possible human body parts and oil near to the alleged site of a crash, reported local news outlet Kompas.

More trouble for Boeing

Boeing manufactured the infamous 737 MAX model involved in two major crashes that killed hundreds of people in less than a year.

In October of that year, 189 people were killed when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX jet slammed into the Java Sea about 12 minutes after take-off from Jakarta on a routine one-hour flight.

In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed after taking off from Addis Ababa. All 157 people on board died.

The model was grounded and the company was Boeing was fined $2.5 billion (€2.04 billion) over claims it defrauded regulators overseeing the 737 MAX model.

The plane that lost contact on Saturday is a much older model.

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