Search and rescue operation underway in Indonesia after a plane loses contact

Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182: Search and rescue operation underway in Indonesia as contact lost with Boeing 737
Srivijayair Indonesia
Sriwijaya Air flight SJY 182

The Indonesian government has launched a search and rescue operation after contact was lost with a plane reportedly carrying 59 passengers.

The Sriwijaya Air flight SJY 182 took off from the capital Jakarta and was scheduled to make a 90-minute internal flight to Pontianak City on the island of Borneo.

A spokesperson for the Indonesian Transport Ministry said the airline is still gathering information on the incident but that a search and rescue operation had been initiated.

Indonesian newspaper Republika reports that 59 passengers were onboard the plane, including five children and a baby.

59 passengers onboard

Last contact was at 2.40pm local time (7.40am GMT) and flight tracking from FlightRadar24 shows the plane losing contact over the Java Sea.

The website’s data also appears to show that the plane lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than a minute.

According to FlightRadar24, the plane is a 27-year-old Boeing 737-500, registration details included in the tracking data shows.

A local government official told Indonesia’s Kompas TV that fishermen had found what appeared to be the wreckage of an aircraft in waters north of Jakarta – although it was not confirmed to be the Sriwijaya Air flight.

Other channels showed pictures of the suspected wreckage and photos posted on social media appeared to show parts of the plane in the water.

“We found some cables, a piece of jeans, and pieces of metal on the water,” A security official told CNN Indonesia.

Search operations ongoing

The airline said they would be issuing an official statement soon “after obtaining the actual information”.

“Sriwijaya Air is still in contact with various related parties to get more detailed information regarding the SJ-182 flight from Jakarta to Pontianak,” the company said in a statement.

“Management is still communicating and investigating this matter and will immediately issue an official statement after obtaining the actual information.”

Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati told the South China Morning Post: “At this point, we are investigating and coordinating the matter with Basarnas [Indonesia’s search and rescue agency] and KNKT [the country’s transport safety body].

“We will release more information as soon as there are developments.”

Sriwijaya Air is a small Indonesian carrier which only operates a 30-strong fleet of Boeing 737s.

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