Body parts and debris found after plane crash in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Indonesian rescuers removed body parts, clothing and pieces of metal from the Java Sea early Sunday morning, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with 62 people on board crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta , officials said.
Officials were hoping they were looking into the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 after sonar equipment detected a signal from the plane.
Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told reporters authorities launched a massive search after identifying “the possible location of the crash site.”
“These pieces were found by the SAR team between Lancang Island and Laki Island,” the national search and rescue agency Bagus Puruhito said in a statement.
Indonesian Army chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said crews from the Navy ship Rigel equipped with a remote-controlled vehicle detected a signal from the plane, which matched the coordinates of the aircraft. last contact made by the pilots before the plane disappeared.
“We immediately deployed our elite Navy unit divers to determine the findings and evacuate the casualties,” Tjahjanto said.
More than 12 hours since the Boeing plane operated by the Indonesian airline lost contact, little is known about the cause of the crash.
Fishermen in the Thousand Islands region, a chain of islands north of the Jakarta coast, reported hearing an explosion around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“We heard something explode, we thought it was a bomb or a tsunami because after that we saw the big splash of water,” the named fisherman Solihin told the Associated Press by phone.
“It was raining a lot and the weather was so bad. It is therefore difficult to see clearly around. But we can see the splash and a big wave after the sounds. We were very shocked and saw the plane wreckage and fuel directly around our boat.
Sumadi said flight SJ182 was delayed an hour before taking off at 2:36 p.m. It disappeared from radar four minutes later after the pilot contacted air traffic control to climb to an altitude of 29,000 feet (8,839 meters), he said.
There were 62 people on board, including seven children and three babies.
“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, the passengers and their families. We are in contact with our airline customers and are ready to support them during this difficult time. “
The authorities have established two crisis centers, one at the airport and one at the port. Families have gathered to await news of their loved ones.
On social media, people began circulating the flight manifesto with photos and videos of those on the passenger list. Video shows a woman with her children saying goodbye as they walk through the airport.
Sriwijaya Air chief executive officer Jefferson Irwin Jauwena said the 26-year-old aircraft previously used by airlines in the United States was airworthy. He told reporters on Saturday that the plane had already flown to Pontianak and Pangkal Pinang on the same day.
“The maintenance report indicated that everything had gone well and was airworthy,” Jauwena said at a press conference. He said the plane was delayed due to bad weather, not damage.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, with over 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. The plane involved in Saturday’s incident lacked the automated flight control system that played a role in the Lion Air crash and another 737 MAX 8 crash in Ethiopia five months later, resulting in immobilization of the MAX 8 for 20 months. .
The Lion Air crash was Indonesia’s worst air disaster since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda airline flight near Medan on the island of Sumatra. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya in Singapore plunged into the sea, killing 162 people.
Sriwijaya Air has only experienced several minor incidents in the past, although a farmer was killed in 2008 when the landing plane left the runway due to a hydraulic problem.
The United States banned Indonesian carriers from operating in the country in 2007, but overturned the decision in 2016, citing improvements in compliance with international aviation standards. The European Union has already had similar bans, lifted in June 2018.