Indonesian rescuers removed body parts, clothing and pieces of metal from the Java Sea on Sunday morning, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with 62 people on board crashed shortly after take off from Jakarta , officials said.
Officials were hoping they were heading to the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 after sonar equipment detected a signal from the plane.
Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said authorities launched massive search efforts after identifying “the possible location of the crash site.”
“These parts were found by the SAR [search and rescue] team between Lancang Island and Laki Island, ”Bagus Puruhito of the national search and rescue agency said in a statement.
Indonesian Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said crews 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 plane disappeared.
“We immediately deployed our elite Navy unit divers to determine the conclusion of evacuating the victims,” Tjahjanto said.
More than 12 hours after the Boeing plane operated by the Indonesian airline lost contact, little is known about the cause of the crash.
Fishermen in the Thousand Islands region, an island chain north of the Jakarta coast, 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 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.
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.
“We are aware of media reports from Jakarta regarding Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182,” Boeing said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the crew, the passengers and their families. We are in contact with our airline customers and are ready to support them in this difficult period. ”
The authorities have created two crisis centers, one at the airport and one in a port. Families have gathered to await news of their loved ones.
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.
Sriwijaya Air Chairman 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 previously flew to Pontianak and Pangkal Pinang on the same day.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with more than 260 million inhabitants, has been plagued by transportation 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 just 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 Indonesia’s worst aviation disaster 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 a plane left the runway on landing due to a hydraulic problem.