Indonesia plane crash: rescuers remove body parts and debris from Java Sea
Indonesian rescuers removed body parts, clothing and bits of metal from the Java Sea early Sunday morning, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with 62 people on board crashed shortly after the take off from Jakarta, officials said.
Officials hoped they would learn more about the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 after sonar equipment picked up a signal from the plane.
Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told reporters authorities launched massive search efforts after identifying “the possible location of the crash site.”
“These parts were found by the SAR team between Lancang Island and Laki Island,” the national search and rescue agency Bagus Puruhito said in a statement.
Indonesian military chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said teams from the Navy ship Rigel equipped with a remote-controlled vehicle detected a signal from the plane, which matched the coordinates of the last contact made by the pilots before the disappearance of the plane.
“We immediately deployed our elite Navy unit divers to determine the conclusion of evacuating the victims,” Tjahjanto said.
More than 12 hours since the Boeing plane operated by the Indonesian airline lost contact, little is known about the cause of the crash.
An Indonesian soldier walks past a map showing where a Sriwijaya Air passenger plane lost contact with air traffic controllers shortly after take off (Photo: AP)
Fishermen in the Thousand Islands region, a chain of islands north of the coast of Jakarta, reported hearing an explosion around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“We heard something explode, we thought it was a bomb or a tsunami, because after that we saw the big splash of water,” said fisherman Solihin, who bears a name, at the ‘Associated Press by phone.
“It was raining heavily and the weather was so bad. It is therefore difficult to see the surroundings clearly. But you can see the splash and a big wave after the sounds. We were very shocked and directly saw the wreckage of the plane and the fuel around our boat.
Sumadi said flight SJ182 was delayed an hour before taking off at 2:36 p.m. It disappeared from radar four minutes later after the pilot contacted air traffic control to climb to an altitude of 29,000 feet. (8,839 meters), he said.
There were 62 people on board, including seven children and three babies.
The authorities have created two crisis centers, one at the airport and one at the port. Families have gathered to await news of their loved ones.
On social media, people started circulating the flight manifesto with photos and videos of those listed as passengers. Video shows a woman with her children saying goodbye as they walk through the airport.
Sriwijaya Air chief executive officer Jefferson Irwin Jauwena said the 26-year-old aircraft previously used by airlines in the United States was airworthy. He told reporters on Saturday that the plane had already flown to Pontianak and Pangkal Pinang on the same day.
“The maintenance report said everything was fine and airworthy,” Jauwena said at a press conference. He said the plane was delayed due to bad weather, not damage.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with more than 260 million inhabitants, has been plagued by transport accidents on land, sea and in the air due to overcrowded ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.
In October 2018, a Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. The plane involved in Saturday’s incident lacked the automated flight control system that played a role in the Lion Air crash and another 737 MAX 8 crash in Ethiopia five months later, resulting in the grounding of the MAX 8 for 20 months. .
The Lion Air crash was the worst air disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda Airlines flight near Medan on the island of Sumatra. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya in Singapore plunged into the sea, killing 162 people.
Sriwijaya Air has only experienced several minor incidents in the past, although a farmer was killed in 2008 when the landing plane left the runway due to a hydraulic problem.
The United States banned Indonesian carriers from operating in the country in 2007, but overturned the decision in 2016, citing improvements in meeting international aviation standards. The European Union has already had similar bans, lifting them in June 2018.