The Sriwijaya Air plane, a Boeing 737-500, lost contact at 2:40 p.m. local time (2:40 a.m. ET), on January 9.
In an unfortunate tragedy, a plane carrying dozens of people flying from Indonesia's Jakarta to the city of Pontianak in Borneo, crashed into the ocean amid heavy rains just minutes into the flight. The Sriwijaya Air plane, a Boeing 737-500, lost contact at 2:40 p.m. local time (2:40 a.m. ET), 11 nautical miles north of Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, on January 9, reported CNN.
The passenger jet reportedly fell 10,000 feet in less than a minute before disappearing from the radar. Investigators believe that the jet was intact when it crashed since the debris has been located only in a concentrated area, Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee Chief Suryanto Cahyono said. "The plane speed when it hits the water is very high, but of course, we have to wait for the investigation to say more about this," Suryanto said. There are no clues about what led to the crash.
There were 62 people on board and nobody has been found alive. Until January 11, 26 bags containing remains of victims, pieces of clothing, and aircraft debris were handed to the disaster victim investigation unit in Jakarta for identification and crash investigators, according to CNN. Police have gathered DNA samples from 40 relatives, who are awaiting answers, to identify the victims.
BREAKING: Indonesian rescuers have pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the Java Sea, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with 62 people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, officials said. https://t.co/zhQqtVhaCE— The Associated Press (@AP) January 10, 2021
Among those aboard, 50 were passengers, including seven children. The rest 12 were crew members, according to Indonesia's Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi. Family members have been waiting at the identification center. Among the missing are a family of five, a young couple, as well as a pregnant mom, her daughter, nephew, and other relatives.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo offered his condolences a day after the crash. "We will do our best to find and save the victims, and together, let's pray that they can be found," he said at the Presidential Palace. "In the name of the government and Indonesian people, we would like to express our condolences on what has happened."
During the course of the search, the black boxes were also located but not yet found. The Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, said that they are "receiving two signals from the black box and are continuing to monitor it." He added that it was located 23 meters (approximately 75 feet) below the surface.
Indonesia Boeing 737 passenger plane crash site found, Navy says https://t.co/bXiaxNWCNL— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) January 10, 2021
Black boxes are important since they store data about the aircraft. They are the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, explains BBC. The data from the black boxes will be able to reveal what happened in the last moments before the plane crashed.
They were detected within 150 to 200 meters (492 to 656 feet) of the crash site. "We have two spots that highly suspected as a location of two black boxes. But unfortunately, there is a lot of debris around that spots," Indonesia Navy Commander Admiral Yudo Margono said on January 11.
A massive joint operation has been deployed for the recovery operation. Between the Indonesian Navy, Police, Coast Guard, and Transportation Ministry, 28 ships, five helicopters, and two airplanes have been deployed.
With the latest crash, Indonesia's lax air safety is again in the spotlight. This is the third major airline crash in the country in the last six years, as per Channel News Asia. So far, there have been 697 fatalities in Indonesia in the last decade including military and private planes. It makes Indonesia the most unsafe for flyers, ahead of Russia, Iran, and Pakistan.
In October 2018, a Lion Air 737 MAX crashed in Indonesia leading to the grounding of the model all over the world. It killed 189 people and revealed issues with the plane model.