Flight SJ182 operated by Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air disappeared from radars shortly after take off. Air traffic control in Indonesia lost contact with the 26 years old Boeing 737-500 passenger plane with 62 onboard shortly after it took off from Jakarta on Saturday, the Ministry of Transport has said.
The plane lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than a minute, reported flight tracker website FlightRadar24.
The domestic flight took off from the capital at 13:56 (7.56 CET) local time heading for Pontianak on the island of Borneo, government spokesman Adita Irawati said.
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“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.
Flight tracking showed the flight path of flight SJ182 ending off the coast just north of Jakarta after losing altitude.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 9, 2021
What we know so far:
- 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 iNews.
- The plane took off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport. It was heading to Pontianak, the provincial capital of West Kalimantan.
- The plane was a Boeing 737-500.
- The plane lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than a minute, reported flight tracker website FlightRadar24.
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.
A statement released by the airline said the plane was on an estiated 90-minute flight with 56 passengers and 6 crew members on board.
Boeing in trouble
Boeing manufactured the infamous 737 MAX model that was 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.
By; Nnamdi M.