An Indonesian budget airline plane carrying 62 people is suspected to have crashed into the waters shortly after its take from Indonesia's capital of Jakarta on a domestic flight Saturday. The Boeing 737 is said to have lost contact with air traffic controllers after taking off, according to the officials.
Meanwhile, an aviation expert said it did not look like the crash was caused by a design flaw with the model. "This is not even the model before the Max, it has been in service for 30 years so it's unlikely to be a design fault," Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at Teal Group, said, according to the Business Insider. "Thousands of these planes have been built and production ended over 20 years ago, so something would have been discovered by now," he added.
Reportedly the debris suspected to be from the passenger jet has been found in the nearby sea.
What we know so far:
- The spokesperson of the Indonesian Transportation Ministry, Adita Irawati stated that the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 went missing over the Java Sea minutes after taking off from the airport.
- According to Irawati, 50 passengers and 12 crew members were aboard the Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182, which has a maximum capacity of 130.
- The destination of the plane was Indonesian province of West Kalimantan's capital Pontianak and the journey was supposed be of one of 90 minutes.
- An independent flight tracking website Flightradar24.com stated that the aircraft did lose over nearly 3,000m (10,000ft) in altitude in less than a minute about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta.
- Reuters reported that an official with the country's search and rescue agency Basarnas, Agus Haryono has said that debris has been discovered in the nearby sea; however, it has not yet been confirmed to be from the same aircraft.
- Irawati has announced that the missing Boeing 737-500 is still "under investigation." The National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee are coordinating the probe.
- Witnesses have said to various media outlets that they have seen and heard at least one explosion. Local fishermen have also spotted metal objects in the Thousand Islands, which are suspected to be parts of the aircraft. On the other hand, one fisherman, named told BBC that he did witness a crash and following that his captain decided to return to land. He also added that the Boeing jet fell into the waters and then exploded. "It was pretty close to us, the shards of a kind of plywood almost hit my ship," he said.
- Evidently this Boeing 737 jet is not a MAX model, which was banned for about 10 months following multiple major crashes. Two fatal crashes, within a span of eight months, of the same aircraft have claimed the lives of nearly 346 people. While one of the crashes took place in October 2018; the other one happened in March 2019.
- First one was an Indonesia's Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed off Jakarta in late 2018, which resulted in 189 casualties and then an Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 from Addis Ababa crashed in 2019, which caused the death of 157 people.
- It has been discovered that both the airlines' crashes were caused by similar technical snag generated due to the recent addition to the Max series called the MCAS. The MCAS system automatically adjusts the pitch of the aircraft based on the sensor's data and needs pilot intervention at times. The faulty sensor in the flight control system pushed the nose of the aircrafts downwards.
- In November of 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration deemed the jet safe to carry passengers again.