MIAMI – Today, a Sriwijaya Air (SJ) Boeing 737-500 operating flight SJ182 from Jakarta to Pontianak lost contact ans crashed approximately five minutes after taking off and appears to have lost 10,000 feet in altitude within a minute.
According to data from Flightradar24, the aircraft dropped from 10,900 feet, with the last signal showing the aircraft at 250 feet at 7:40UTC. The aircraft then disappeared off of radars. Search and Rescue operations have already commenced.
UPDATE: Official Media Statement from Sriwijaya Air
“We confirm that the SJ-182 flight from Jakarta to Pontianak has lost contact as of today 9 January 2021 at 14:40 WIB. Our aircraft is manned by six active crew.
“The details of the passengers on flight SJ-182 are 40 adults, seven children, three babies and six crew members as passengers. Our prayers go out to all our passengers and crew and their families.”
“Until now, we continue to coordinate with the relevant authorities and provide all necessary support. For families and relatives, you can contact the following hotline numbers: 021 – 8063 7816 and 021 – 8063 7817.”
According to the AVHerald.com, a captain of a ship with 28 crew, that was located about 6nm from the impact site near Lancang Island, reported they were observing an object fall into the waters and set course towards the site.
“They found flight jackets, body parts and debris of an aircraft. The ship is currently holding position about half a mile off the observed crash site until rescue and recovery services (of Basarnas) arrive. The water is about 15 to 16 meters deep at the crash site.”
UPDATE: Rescue Initiatives
According to CNN Indonesia coverage, Transport Minister Karya said a dozen vessels, including four warships, were deployed in a search and rescue operation centered between Lancang island and Laki island, part of the Thousand Islands chain just north of Jakarta.
Surachman, a local government official, told Kompas TV that fishermen found what appeared to be the wreckage of an aircraft in waters north of Jakarta. Other news channels showed images of suspected wreckage.“We found some cables, a piece of jeans, and pieces of metal on the water,” Zulkifli, a security official, told CNNIndonesia.com.
Agus Haryono, an official of the Basarnas search-and-rescue agency, told Reuters news agency it had not been confirmed the debris came from Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182. Agus said 50 people were taking part in the search and they would keep working into the night.
UPDATE: Rescue Team Locates Crash Site, Black Boxes
The SJ crash site was found by an Indonesian search-and-rescue team where a Boeing Co. jet carrying 62 people operated by Sriwijaya Air went down just minutes after Saturday’s takeoff, with officials saying they expect the aircraft’s black boxes to be retrieved soon.
According to officials, debris believed to be from Flight SJ182 was discovered along with emergency signals transmitted by two devices, with the search team already locating both flight recorders. With the team hoping to retrieve the black boxes as soon as Sunday evening, the search will continue through the night.
“We believe that it is the location of the crash,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said in a televised briefing. Items found 23 meters (75 feet) underwater include life vests and parts of the aircraft that bears its registration number, he said.
According to business-standard.com, the announcement that the aircraft had crashed came about 20 hours after its departure from Jakarta, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for utmost effort to search for and rescue the victims.
The aircraft in question, PK-CLC was delivered new to Continental Airlines in 1994, making the Boeing 737 26 years old. It operated for United Airlines (UA) beginning in 2010 before being delivered to SJ in 2012.
The aircraft was fitted with two CFM56 engines, and had winglets installed in 2008 while operating with Continental Airlines.
PK-CLC was one of 18 aircraft in the airline’s all Boeing 737 fleet, including five Boeing 737-500s (including the one that crashed), 11 Boeing 737-800s and two Boeing 737-900s. The airline also has two Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft on order.
Shortly after the crash, fishermen found debris thought to be from the crashed aircraft. Videos posted to Twitter show small pieces and tangled wires among the debris found. This is the first major aviation crash or incident since the new year.
This is a developing story. Our thoughts are with the family of those involved in the crash.
Featured image: Nayunda Almira – @potretyundanay