The Indonesian authorities have located black boxes belonging to the Sriwijaya Air plane that crashed into the sea minutes after taking off from the capital Jakarta on Saturday.
Along with the black boxes from the Indonesian plane, authorities said that rescue workers also came across several human body parts, clothing and suspected pieces of the plane.
Sriwijaya Air flight 182 (SJ182) was heading to Pontianak in West Kalimantan province of Indonesia when it disappeared from the radar four minutes after taking off from Jakarta.
The plane was carrying 12 crew member and 50 passengers onboard, including seven children and three babies, all of them Indonesian.
Indonesia’s national transport safety committee chief, Soerjanto Tjahjono, said the locations of the two black boxes from flight SJ182 had been identified.
“Hopefully we can retrieve them soon,” said the military chief, Hadi Tjahjanto, without giving an estimated timeframe.
The pieces of wreckage that retrieved by rescuers came from depth of 23 metres (75ft) near a group of Islands off the Jakarta coast, according to authorities.
Among the wreckage was a twisted piece of metal, which was painted in Sriwijaya Air’s blue and red colors while authorities said that rescuers also retrieved human body parts and clothing.
Police has asked families of the passengers and crew to provide information such as dental records and DNA samples to help identify the victims of this tragic incident.
The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has expressed “deep condolences” over the Sriwijaya Air plane crash and urged the public to pray that the missing people could be found.
The Sriwijaya Air plane took off from Jakarta at 2.36pm local time (0736GMT) and climbed to 10,900 feet within four minutes, according to the global flight tracking service Flightradar24.
However, it then began its downward descent and dropped nearly 10,000 feet in less then a minute and and disappeared from the radar completely.
The 26-year-old Indonesian plane was a Boeing 737-500 with registration number PK-CLC and flying under Sriwijaya Air, a budget airliner.
The pilots of the aircraft had decades of flying experience between them. The captain was a former air force pilot while his co-pilot had been with the Sriwijaya Air since 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile.
There were no immediate clues as to the plane’s sudden descent while most air accidents can be caused by the range of factors which can take months to determine, according to safety experts.
A transport ministry spokesperson said that air traffic control was asking the pilotwhy the plane was heading north-west instead of its expected flight plan towards Pontianak.
“We are in contact with our airline customer and stand ready to support them during this difficult time,” Boeing said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families.”
Meanwhile, distraught families of the passengers waited in Pontianak, which is about 460 miles (740km) from Jakarta, for updates regarding their loves ones. A crisis centre was also set up for families at the Jakarta’s main port.
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.
More people have died in air crashes in Indonesia than in any other country over the past decade, according to the Aviation Safety Network’s Database.
The European Union (EU) also banned all Indonesian airlines from 2007 till 2018 after a series of crashes resulting from deteriorating oversight and maintenance after the deregulation in the late 1990s.