A Sriwijaya Air plane carrying 62 people on board that lost contact shortly after taking off from Indonesia’s capital Jakarta is feared to have crashed according to rescuers who found debris suspected to be from the aircraft in the sea near the city.
Sriwijaya Air flight 182 (SJ182), en route to Pontianak in West Kalimantan province of Indonesia, in what was expected to be a 90-minute journey but the aircraft lost contact with traffic control minutes after takeoff at 2.40pm Western Indonesian Time on Saturday.
The plane was carrying 50 passengers (43 adults and 7 children) and 12 crew members according to the Indonesia’s Minister for Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi in a press conference.
According to global flight tracking service, Flightradar24, the Indonesian plane dropped 10,000 feet in less than a minute before disappearing from the radar completely. It further stated that the dropped occurred about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta.
Local media outlets are reporting that rescue workers and local fisherman have spotted metal objects believed to be part of a plane in the Thousand Islands north of Jakarta.
Maj. Gen Bambang Suryo Aji, from Indonesia’s search and rescue agency Basarnas, confirmed the findings, but it has still not been determined whether the debris came from the missing Indonesian plane.
Meanwhile, Sriwijaya Air, a budget Indonesian airliner, said that it was gathering more detailed information regarding the flight before making a full statement.
The 26-year-old Indonesian plane was a Boeing 737-500 with registration number PK-CLC and flying under Sriwijaya Air, a budget airliner.
However, it is pertinent to mention that the plane is much older than the problem-plagued Boeing 737 MAX model, which crashed off Jakarta in late 2018, killing all 189 people aboard the Lion Air Flight.