Budi Karya Sumadi has confirmed that flight SJY-182 crashed near the island of Male, as reported by local media Detik.
The Boeing 737-500 had plunged 10,000 feet in less than a minute as it flew over the Java Sea, minutes after takeoff from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, according to the Flight24 tracking website, which followed its flight path just off the coast north of the capital.
The plane was on an estimated 90-minute flight to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on the Indonesian island of Borneo and lost contact at 2:40 p.m. local time on Saturday.
Passengers on board included 43 adults and seven children. There were also 12 crew members.
Indonesia’s search and rescue agency Basarnas previously said the plane crashed between the islands of Laki and Lancang in the Thousand Islands chain. The Indonesian Navy has deployed five warships and diving troops to explore the area.
Witnesses described how they heard an explosion and found objects in the water believed to have come from a plane. A fisherman told the BBC that “the plane fell like lightning in the sea and exploded in the water”.
Sriwijaya Air said it was “in contact with various related parties for more detailed information” and that it “would immediately issue an official statement” pending further information.
The low cost airline is Indonesia’s third largest carrier. Its website says it carries more than 950,000 passengers per month from its Jakarta hub to 53 destinations in Indonesia and three countries in the region.
The aircraft, registered PK CLC, is a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500, not to be confused with the much more modern 737 Max.
This model was brought to a standstill after two crashes in the past two years, including one off the coast of Indonesia, where Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea in October 2018, killing all 189 people in edge.
Boeing said in a statement, “We are aware of media reports from Jakarta and are monitoring the situation closely. We are working to collect more information. ”