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Boeing plane goes missing in Indonesia with 62 on board, debris found

yorkfoto/iStock
yorkfoto/iStock

BY: ROSA SANCHEZ, SAM SWEENEY, IVAN PERIERA, MINA KAJI, AND JON HAWORTH ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) — A passenger airplane crashed in the Java Sea in Indonesia on Saturday and search and rescue teams have said they found some of the debris.

“Sriwijaya Air flight #SJ182 lost more than 10.000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta,” Flightradar24 tweeted Saturday morning.

Sixty-two people were on board the Sriwijaya Air flight en route from Jakarta to Pontianak in Indonesia, according to the airline. Sriwijaya Air confirmed the aircraft was manned by six active crew members. It had 40 adult passengers, 7 child passengers and three babies, with six extra crew members on board as passengers.

Authorities confirmed all on board were Indonesian citizens.

The flight departed from Jakarta at 2:36 p.m. local time, according to FlightRadar24. It then climbed to a maximum altitude of 10,900 feet before it began a steep descent. The airline confirmed it lost contact with the plane at 2:40 p.m. local.

Authorities said at a press conference that the aircraft was initially delayed for around half an hour due to heavy rain.

The Ministry of Transport said in a statement released on Sunday that they have detected signals from the aircraft’s black boxes but have yet to be retrieved. Meanwhile, a ship with the ability to read the signals from the two black boxes is currently heading to the location.

A statement from Basarnas, Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, also released on Saturday confirmed that tire parts and children’s clothes have been found.

Search and rescue teams were on the ground searching during the night. The Navy deployed 11 ships to try and locate remains and the black boxes which will hold key clues to the cause of the crash.

Officials said they strongly believe the plane crashed between Lancang Island and Laki Island of Jakarta’s Thousand Islands, an island chain located north of Jakarta’s coasts.

“We received reports from the diver team that the visibility in the water was good and clear, allowing the discovery of some parts of the plane. Hopefully until this afternoon the current conditions and the view under the sea are still good so that we can continue the search. We are sure that is the point where the plane crashed, hopefully we can develop it further,” said Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto.

The flight took off from the same airport as the October 2018 Lion Air crash which killed 189 people. That plane was a Boeing 737 MAX which was recently cleared to fly by the Federal Aviation Administration after being grounded for nearly two years.

Saturday’s deadly accident involved an older Boeing model — a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500.

“We are aware of media reports from Jakarta regarding Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182,” Boeing said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand ready to support them during this difficult time.”

Indonesia is in charge of the investigation into the accident. In accordance with ICAO Annex 13, since the U.S. is the State of Manufacturer of the airplane there is also a senior investigator that serves as the U.S. Accredited Representative.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is “in contact with Indonesia’s KNKT and are awaiting additional information to determine what specific support is necessary and if we will travel.”

ABC News’ Aicha El Hammar Castano, Karson Yiu and Daniel Manzo contributed to this report.

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