Indonesian divers find parts of plane wreckage in Java Sea

Members of National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) prepare an area where debris found in the waters where a Sriwijaya Air passenger jet has lost contact with air traffic controllers will be brought to be examined, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, early Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. The Boeing 737-500 took off from Jakarta for Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s Borneo island with 56 passengers and six crew members onboard, and lost contact with the control tower a few moments later. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)Members of National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) prepare an area where debris found in the waters where a Sriwijaya Air passenger jet has lost contact with air traffic controllers will be brought to be examined, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, early Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. The Boeing 737-500 took off from Jakarta for Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s Borneo island with 56 passengers and six crew members onboard, and lost contact with the control tower a few moments later. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Indonesian Navy divers take part in the search for the crashed Sriwijaya Air passenger jet in the waters off Java island, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Indonesian rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the Java Sea early Sunday morning, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with dozens of people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, officials said. (AP Photo)Indonesian Navy divers take part in the search for the crashed Sriwijaya Air passenger jet in the waters off Java island, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Indonesian rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the Java Sea early Sunday morning, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with dozens of people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, officials said. (AP Photo)
Rescuers carry debris found in the waters around the location where a Sriwijaya Air passenger jet has lost contact with air traffic controllers shortly after the takeoff, in Java Sea, near Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Indonesian divers on Sunday located parts of the wreckage of a Boeing 737-500 in the Java Sea, a day after the aircraft with dozens of people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)Rescuers carry debris found in the waters around the location where a Sriwijaya Air passenger jet has lost contact with air traffic controllers shortly after the takeoff, in Java Sea, near Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Indonesian divers on Sunday located parts of the wreckage of a Boeing 737-500 in the Java Sea, a day after the aircraft with dozens of people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
An Indonesian Navy diver shows debris recovered from the water during a search operation for a Sriwijaya Air passenger jet that crashed into the sea near Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Indonesian divers on Sunday located parts of the wreckage of the Boeing 737-500 at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet) in the Java Sea, a day after the aircraft with dozens of people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta. (AP Photo)An Indonesian Navy diver shows debris recovered from the water during a search operation for a Sriwijaya Air passenger jet that crashed into the sea near Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Indonesian divers on Sunday located parts of the wreckage of the Boeing 737-500 at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet) in the Java Sea, a day after the aircraft with dozens of people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta. (AP Photo)

Authorities said they determined the location of the crash site and black boxes of a Boeing 737-500 on Sunday, a day after the aircraft crashed into the Java Sea with 62 people on board shortly after taking off from Indonesia’s capital.

The head of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, Bagus Puruhito, said officials believe they identified the location of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder — the so-called black boxes — because emergency signals transmitted by the devices were detected by a navy ship’s sonar system.

“Hopefully we can lift the black boxes in short time to determine the cause of the crash,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said.

Earlier Sunday, search and rescue operations resulted in parts of the plane being found in the sea at a depth of 23 metres (75 feet), leading rescuers to continue searching the area.

“We received reports from the diver team that the visibility in the water is good and clear, allowing the discovery of some parts of the plane,” Tjahjanto said in a statement. “We are sure that is the point where the plane crashed.”

He said the objects found included broken pieces of fuselage with aircraft registration parts.

Earlier, rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of children’s clothing and scraps of metal from the surface.

The break in the search for Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 came after the navy ship’s sonar equipment detected a signal from the aircraft at a location that fit the co-ordinates from the last contact made by the pilots before the plane disappeared Saturday afternoon, Tjahjanto said.

The plane was en route from Jakarta to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s Borneo island, on a flight that was expected to take around 90 minutes.

It was still unclear what caused it to crash. There was no sign of survivors.

“I represent the government and all Indonesians in expressing my deep condolences for this tragedy,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said.

“We are doing our best to save the victims. We pray together so that the victims can be found,” he said, adding that he had asked the National Transport Safety Committee to conduct an investigation.

Fishermen in the area between Lancang and Laki islands, part of an archipelago around Thousand Islands north of Jakarta’s coast, reported hearing an explosion around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We heard something explode — we thought it was a bomb or a tsunami since after that we saw a big splash from the water,” Solihin, who goes by one name, said by phone.

“It was raining heavily and the weather was so bad, so it was difficult to see around clearly,” Solihin said. “But we saw the splash and a big wave after the loud sound. We were very shocked and saw the plane debris and the fuel around our boat.”

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the flight was delayed for an hour before it took off at 2:36 p.m. It disappeared from radar four minutes later, after the pilot contacted air traffic control to ascend to an altitude of 29,000 feet (8,839 metres), he said.

There were 62 people on board, all of them Indonesian nationals, including three babies and seven other children. The plane was carrying 50 passengers, six working crew members and six other crew for another flight.

“Our thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families,” Boeing said in a statement. “We are in contact with our airline customer and stand ready to support them during this difficult time.”

Authorities established two crisis centres, one at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, where the plane departed from, and one at port. Families gathered to wait for news about their loved ones.

On social media, people began circulating the flight manifesto with photos and videos of those who were listed as passengers. One video shows a woman with her children waving goodbye while walking through the airport.

Sriwijaya Air president director Jefferson Irwin Jauwena said the plane, which was 26 years old and previously used by airlines in the United States, was airworthy. He told reporters Saturday that the plane had previously flown to Pontianak and Pangkal Pinang city on the same day.

He said the plane was delayed due to bad weather, not because of any mechanical problems.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.

In October 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet operated by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. The plane involved in Saturday’s disaster did not have the automated flight-control system that played a role in the Lion Air crash and another crash of a 737 MAX 8 jet in Ethiopia five months later, leading to the grounding of the MAX 8 for 20 months.

The Lion Air crash was Indonesia’s worst airline disaster since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda airlines flight near Medan on Sumatra island. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing 162 people.

Sriwijaya Air has had only minor incidents in the past, though a farmer was killed in 2008 when a plane went off the runway while landing due to a hydraulic issue.

The United States banned Indonesian carriers from operating in the country in 2007, but reversed the decision in 2016, citing improvements in compliance with international aviation standards. The European Union has previously had similar bans, lifting them in June 2018.

ALSO READ: 5 nations want Iran to deliver justice on downed plane

Victoria Milko And Edna Tarigan, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

IndonesiaPlane crash

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

Desmond Tompkins helped curate and host a youth art show at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre art show highlights ‘diverse perspectives’

With COVID-19 protocols in place, youth art show underway

RCMP Isp. Benoit Maure (top right) has written a book, Leading at the Edge, which details Canadian peacekeeping missions, including his own 1999 mission in Guatemala (bottom right). (Contributed photos)
Longtime RCMP officer pens book on Canadian peacekeeping efforts

RCMP Insp. Benoit Maure’s new book, Leading at the Edge, features stories from 10 missions

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read