Boeing accident in Indonesia: body parts found, the search continues
Steph Deschamps / January 10, 2021
Body parts, debris and a child's clothing were found Sunday off the Indonesian capital Jakarta, where a Boeing crashed into the sea with 62 people on board.
The two black boxes of the Boeing that crashed off the Indonesian capital Jakarta with 62 people on board have been located, the Indonesian Transport Safety Committee announced Sunday.
We have located the position of both black boxes,". said Soerjanto Tjahjanto, head of the committee, which is part of the Ministry of Transport. Divers will start searching for them and I hope it won't take long to recover them.
The plane of the Indonesian company Sriwijaya Air connecting Jakarta to Pontianak, on the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, lost contact with air traffic controllers Saturday shortly after 14:40 local time (07:40 GMT), a few minutes after takeoff. No details have been given at this stage on the possible causes of the accident by the authorities.
This morning we received two bags, one with objects belonging to the passengers and the other with body parts, said police spokesman Yusri Yunus. The police are working on the identifications, he said.
The first debris was brought back to the main port of Jakarta, including an airplane tire and a child's pink pants, observed an AFP journalist.
Rescue and army deployed
Hundreds of members of the rescue services, the Navy, 10 warships, helicopters and divers are involved in the search at sea.
At at least three sites, divers have placed orange buoys and sonar is being used to locate the fuselage, according to an AFP reporter on site.
A naval ship detected a signal from the aircraft and a dive team began descending and found pieces of the aircraft such as debris and parts with identification numbers and other items, said Hadi Tjahjanto, the commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces, quoted in a statement from the Ministry of Transport. The ministry did not specify whether the signal came from the aircraft's black box.
The aircraft, which departed from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff, while over the Java Sea, near tourist islands just off the coast of Jakarta.
Fifty passengers, including 10 children, and 12 crew members were on board. All are Indonesian, the authorities said. The families of the passengers waited anxiously for news.
I have four family members on the plane - my wife and three children," Yaman Zai said in tears as he waited for them at the Pontianak airport. My wife sent me a picture of the baby today, how could my heart not be broken, he told AFP Sunday night.
A brutal fall
According to data from the FlightRadar24 website, the aircraft reached an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) before dropping sharply to 250 feet. It then lost contact with the control tower.
Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said Saturday that the aircraft appeared to deviate from its trajectory just before disappearing from radar.
Fishermen who were near the site, quoted by CNN Indonesia and other local media, said they heard at least one explosion at the time of the accident, which the authorities did not confirm.
A classic Boeing 737, 26 years old
In October 2018, 189 people died in the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX that crashed into the Java Sea some 12 minutes after takeoff.
An accident involving the same model of aircraft in Ethiopia resulted in months of grounding and the U.S. aircraft manufacturer was fined $2.5 billion this week for misleading the authorities during the approval process for the aircraft.
Sriwijaya's plane is not a new generation of the controversial Boeing 737 MAX, but a classic 26-year-old Boeing 737.
The air transport sector in Indonesia has regularly experienced tragedies in recent years, and several Indonesian airlines have been banned in Europe in the past.