Sriwijaya Air Plane Disappears from Radars Shortly after Takeoff from Indonesia
A Sriwijaya Air plane disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Saturday. Flight tracker website FlightRadar24 reported that the Boeing 737-500 lost more than 10,000 feet (~3 km) of altitude in less than a minute about four minutes after taking off. The plane lost contact 11 nautical miles north of Jakarta's Soekarno--Hatta International Airport.
According to CNN, the plane had on board 50 passengers including 7 children as well as 12 crew members, Indonesia's Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said during a press conference. The plane took off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport and was heading to Pontianak, the provincial capital of West Kalimantan.
“It last made contact at 2:40 pm [0740 GMT],” said Adita Irawati, a spokeswoman for the transport ministry according to Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, according to registration details included in the tracking data, the aircraft is believed to be 26 years old.
No comment yet
Sriwijaya Air released a statement saying it is collecting more information on the flight before making any comments. Indonesian newspaper Merdeka has stated that the Regent of the Thousand Islands, the area where the plane is believed to have lost contact, said he had information that "something fell and exploded on Male Island," as reported by DW.
CNN reported that Indonesia's Head Of National Transportation Safety Committee, Suryanto Cahyono said the country's search and rescue agency, Basarnas, has sent a ship to the Thousand Islands while five warships and diving troops were sent by the Indonesian navy.
In addition, a high-ranking Basarnas officer said at a press conference that debris has been found around Lancang Island located to the north of Jakarta's coast. The debris will be sent to the National Transportation Safety Committee to be investigated. It is not yet confirmed if the spotted debris belongs to the missing plane.
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.