Body parts found at Indonesian plane crash site

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Jakarta (AFP)

Body parts and debris were transported to waters near the Indonesian capital on Sunday from a Boeing airliner that crashed shortly after takeoff with 62 people on board.

Sriwijaya Air’s Boeing 737-500 plunged into a steep dive about four minutes after leaving Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Saturday afternoon.

No reason has yet been given for the crash, with authorities focusing on a frantic search-and-rescue effort that seemed to offer no hope of finding survivors.

“Since this morning, we have received two (body) bags, one with the personal effects of the passengers and the other with body parts,” Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus told Metro TV.

The discovery came as a flotilla of warships, helicopters and divers were deployed off the sprawling city on Sunday.

Sixty-two passengers and crew were on board, including 10 children, all Indonesians, authorities said.

Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 was bound for the town of Pontianak on the Indonesian section of the island of Borneo, about a 90-minute flight over the Java Sea.

It crashed into the Java Sea near popular day trip tourist islands just off the coast.

Distraught relatives waited nervously for the news at Pontianak airport on Saturday evening.

“I have four family members on the flight – my wife and three children,” Yaman Zai said sobbing.

“(My wife) sent me a picture of the baby today… How could my heart not be torn to pieces? ”

Officials said on Sunday they would continue their search by sea and air while using sonar radar to detect more signs of the downed plane.

Divers have marked at least three sites of the suspected crash site with orange balloons, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

“From our observation, it is firmly believed that the coordinates correspond to those of the last signal contact of the plane,” said Hadi Tjahjanto, head of the Indonesian army.

Hundreds of search and rescue personnel, navy, police, with 10 warships also participating in the search effort.

– Sudden dive –

Data from FlightRadar24 indicates that the aircraft reached an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) before suddenly falling to 250 feet. He then lost contact with air traffic control.

Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said on Saturday that the plane appeared to deviate from its intended course just before it disappeared from the radar.

Sriwijaya Air, which owns around 19 Boeing jets that fly to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, only said it was investigating the loss of contact.

He did not immediately comment when contacted again by AFP on Sunday.

In October 2018, 189 people were killed when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX plane crashed into the Java Sea about 12 minutes after take off from Jakarta on a routine hour-long flight.

The crash – and a subsequent fatal flight in Ethiopia – saw Boeing fined $ 2.5 billion for defrauding regulators overseeing the Model 737 MAX, which was grounded around the world in the wake of the crash. two fatal accidents.

The jet that fell on Saturday is not a MAX model and was 26 years old, authorities said.

In its initial statements about Saturday’s crash, Boeing offered no immediate insight into the cause.

“We are aware of media reports from Jakarta regarding Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182. Our hearts go out to the crew, passengers and their families, ”the US aircraft manufacturer said in a statement.

“We are in contact with our airline customers and are ready to support them in this difficult period. ”

Indonesia’s aviation industry has long suffered from a reputation for poor safety, and its airlines were once banned from entering US and European airspace.

In 2014, an AirAsia plane crashed, killing 162 people.

AirAsia’s national crash investigators final report showed chronically faulty component in rudder control system, poor maintenance and poor pilot response were major factors in what was supposed to be routine flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya in Singapore.

A year later, in 2015, more than 140 people, including people on the ground, were killed when a military plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Medan on the island of Sumatra.

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