A military vessel “found the signal” for the plane on Sunday and divers recovered parts of the plane about 23 meters (75 feet) below the water’s surface, the Department of Transportation said in a statement. , quoting the Indonesian military leader.
Hadi Tjahjanto said the recovered items included broken fuselage pieces with aircraft registration parts.
“We are sure that is when the plane crashed,” he said in the statement, expressing hope that the weather conditions and “the view under the sea are still good so that we can continue the research ”Sunday afternoon.
The pause in the search for Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 came after sonar equipment from a Navy ship detected a signal from the aircraft at a location corresponding to the coordinates of the last contact made by the pilots before the ‘plane did not disappear on Saturday afternoon.
The plane bound for Pontianak in West Kalimantan crashed shortly after takeoff from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
It is still unclear what caused the accident. There was no sign of survivors.
“I represent the government and all Indonesians in expressing my sincere condolences for this tragedy,” said President Joko Widodo.
“We are doing our best to save the victims. We pray together that the victims can be found, ”he said, adding that he had asked the National Transport Safety Committee to investigate.
The nearly 27-year-old plane was much older than the troubled 737 MAX model from Boeing, one of which crashed off Jakarta in late 2018, killing all 189 people aboard the Lion Air flight .
The older 737 models are widely used and lack the system involved in the MAX security crisis.
“We are in contact with our airline customers and are ready to support them during this difficult time,” Boeing said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the crew, passengers and their families.”
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. (07:30 GMT) 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, ”fisherman Solihin, who has a name, told 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 we 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.
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. The 62 people on board included seven children and three babies.
“I have four family members on the flight – my wife and three children,” Yaman Zai said as he waited at Pontianak Airport on Saturday evening. ” [My wife] sent me a picture of the baby today… How could my heart not be torn to pieces? he said sobbing.
On social media, people began circulating the flight manifesto with photos and videos of those listed as passengers. A video shows a woman with her children saying goodbye as they walk through the airport.
Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said flight SJ182 was delayed an hour before taking off at 2:36 p.m. (07:36 GMT). 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.
Sriwijaya Air chairman director Jefferson Irwin Jauwena said the plane, which was previously used by airlines in the United States, was airworthy. He told reporters on Saturday that the plane previously flew 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.
Founded in 2003, the Jakarta-based Sriwijaya Air group flies mainly in Indonesia. The low cost airline has had a strong safety record, with no casualties on board in four incidents recorded in the airline safety network database.
In 2007, the European Union banned all Indonesian airlines following a series of accidents and reports of degraded surveillance and maintenance since deregulation in the late 1990s. restrictions were fully lifted in 2018.
Between 2007 and 2016, the United States Federal Aviation Administration downgraded its safety rating in Indonesia to Category 2, meaning its regulatory system was inadequate.