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Indonesian Sriwijaya Boeing 737 Plane missing LATEST updates: Rescue officials say locals heard 'thunder-like explosion'

Indonesian Sriwijaya Boeing 737 Plane missing LIVE updates: A commander of one of the search-and-rescue ships who goes by a single name, Eko, said that fishermen found cables and pieces of metal in the water

FP Staff January 09, 2021 23:52:32 IST
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Indonesian Sriwijaya Boeing 737 Plane missing LATEST updates: Rescue officials say locals heard 'thunder-like explosion'

Relatives of passengers on board missing Sriwijaya Air flight SJY182 wait for news at the Supadio airport in Pontianak. AFP

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LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Jan 09, 2021 - 22:40 (IST)

Rescue officials say locals heard 'explosion like thunder'

A commander of one of the search-and-rescue ships who goes by a single name, Eko, said that fishermen found cables and pieces of metal in the water.

“The fishermen told us that they found them shortly after they heard an explosion like the sound of thunder,” Eko was quoted by TVOne as saying, adding that aviation fuel was found in the location where the fishermen found the debris.

Jan 09, 2021 - 22:30 (IST)

Sriwijaya Air has had 'solid' safety record so far

Sriwijaya began operations in 2003 and flies to more than 50 destinations in Indonesia and a handful of nearby countries, according to its website. Its fleet includes a variety of 737 variants as well as the regional ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop plane.

The airline has had a solid safety record until now, with no onboard casualties in four incidents recorded on the Aviation Safety Network database, though a farmer was killed when a Boeing 737-200 left the runway in 2008 following a hydraulic problem.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.

Jan 09, 2021 - 21:57 (IST)

Boeing says closely monitoring situation of Sriwijaya Air flight

Chicago-based Boeing said on its Twitter feed that it was aware of the incident. It said it was closely monitoring the situation and “working to gather more information.”

The twin-engine, single aisle Boeing 737 is one of the world’s most popular planes for short and medium-haul flights. The 737-500 is a shorter version of the widely used 737 model. Airlines began using this type of plane in the 1990s, with production ending two decades ago.

Jan 09, 2021 - 21:37 (IST)

Rescuers collect plane debris, clothes; officials to determine source of materials

Bambang Suryo Aji, the National Search and Rescue Agency’s deputy head of operations and preparedness, said rescuers collected plane debris and clothes that were found by fishermen. They handed the items over to the National Transportation Safety Committee for further investigation to determine whether they were from the missing plane.

Aji said no radio beacon signal had been detected from the 26-year-old plane. He said his agency was investigating why the plane's emergency locator transmitter, or ELT, was not transmitting a signal that could confirm whether it had crashed.

(AP)

Jan 09, 2021 - 21:22 (IST)

All Indonesian nationals on board missing flight, says airline

The plane was carrying 50 passengers and 12 crew members, all Indonesian nationals, including six extra crew for another trip.

Sumadi said a dozen vessels, including four warships, were deployed in a search-and-rescue operation centered between Lancang island and Laki island, part of the Thousand Islands chain just north of Jakarta.

Jan 09, 2021 - 21:05 (IST)

Sriwijaya Air passenger jet disappeared from radar four minutes after take off

Indonesia transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said Flight SJ182 was delayed for an hour before it took off at 2:36 p.m. The Boeing 737-500 disappeared from radar four minutes later, after the pilot contacted air traffic control to ascend to an altitude of 29,000 feet (8,839 meters), he said.

Image credit: AP

Jan 09, 2021 - 20:56 (IST)

Sriwijaya Air says plane was on 90-minute flight

Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said the Boeing 737-500 took off from Jakarta at about 1:56 pm and lost contact with the control tower at 2.40 pm.

A statement released by the airline said the plane was on an estimated 90-minute flight from Jakarta to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesias Borneo island.

Jan 09, 2021 - 20:32 (IST)

Indonesian plane with 62 onboard feared crashed near Jakarta coast

A Sriwijaya Air passenger jet carrying 62 people lost contact with air traffic controllers on Saturday, minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on a domestic flight, officials said. 

The airline said in a statement that the plane was on an estimated 90-minute flight from Jakarta to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s Borneo island. There were 56 passengers and six crew members on board.

Indonesian Sriwijaya Boeing 737 Plane missing LATEST updates: A commander of one of the search-and-rescue ships who goes by a single name, Eko, said that fishermen found cables and pieces of metal in the water.

“The fishermen told us that they found them shortly after they heard an explosion like the sound of thunder,” Eko was quoted by TVOne as saying, adding that aviation fuel was found in the location where the fishermen found the debris.

Indonesia transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said Flight SJ182 was delayed for an hour before it took off at 2:36 p.m. The Boeing 737-500 disappeared from radar four minutes later, after the pilot contacted air traffic control to ascend to an altitude of 29,000 feet (8,839 meters), he said.

An Indonesian budget airline plane with 62 people on board is suspected to have crashed into the sea shortly after the Boeing 737 took off from Jakarta airport on Saturday, authorities said.

Flight tracking data showed the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 plunged into a steep dive about four minutes after it left Soekarno-Hatta international airport.

Sixty-two passengers and crew were on board, including 10 children, the nation's transport minister, Budi Karya Sumadi, told reporters.

The suspected crash site is near tourist islands just off the coast of Indonesia's sprawling capital.

The plane took off on Saturday afternoon and a search and rescue operation began with no official results available on Saturday night.

"We deployed our team, boats and sea riders to the location suspected to be where it went down after losing contact," Bambang Suryo Aji, a senior official at the agency, told reporters after nightfall.

Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 was bound for Pontianak on Indonesia's section of Borneo island, about 90 minutes flying time over the Java Sea.

"I have four family members on the flight -- my wife and my three children," Yaman Zai said as he sobbed at Pontianak airport.

"They haven't arrived. They're not here," he was heard saying as he spoke on his mobile phone.

Sudden plunge

Data from FlightRadar24 said the plane reached an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet (3,350 metres) before dropping suddenly to 250 feet. It then lost contact with air traffic control.

"Sriwijaya Air flight #SJ182 lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta," the tracking agency said on its official Twitter account.

Broadcaster Kompas TV quoted local fishermen as saying they had found debris near islands just off the coast of the capital Jakarta, but it could not be immediately confirmed as having belonged to the missing jet.

Authorities and the airline gave no immediate indication as to why the plane suddenly went down.

The budget airline, which has about 19 Boeing jets that fly to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, said only that it was investigating the loss of contact.

In October 2018, 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.

That crash — and a subsequent fatal flight in Ethiopia — saw Boeing hit with $2.5 billion in fines over claims it defrauded regulators overseeing the 737 MAX model, which was grounded worldwide following the two deadly crashes.

Indonesia's aviation sector has long suffered from a reputation for poor safety, and its airlines were once banned from entering US and European airspace.

In 2014, an AirAsia plane crashed with the loss of 162 lives.

Domestic investigators' final report on the AirAsia crash showed a chronically faulty component in a rudder control system, poor maintenance and the pilots' inadequate response were major factors in what was supposed to be a routine flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

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