Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 passenger plane feared to have crashed in Indonesia

A Boeing 737 passenger plane carrying 62 individuals is believed to have crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.

The Sriwijaya Air disappeared from radars four minutes into its journey to Pontianak in West Kalimantan province.

It’s considered to have fallen more than 3,000m (10,000ft) in under a moment, according to flight monitoring website Flightradar24.com.

Witnesses said they had seen and heard at least one explosion.

Fisherman Solihin, that goes by one name, told the BBC Indonesian service he’d witnessed a crash and his captain decided to return to property.

“The plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water,” he said.

“It was pretty near us, the shards of a kind of plywood almost hit my boat.”

Quite a few inhabitants of an island near where the airplane disappeared told the BBC they had discovered objects they believed were out of the airplane.

Search and rescue efforts were suspended immediately but were due to restart on Sunday.

The Indonesian navy was allegedly set up to look for the aircraft on Saturday. Navy official Abdul Rasyid told Reuters news agency it had ascertained that the airplane’s coordinates and boats had been deployed to the location.

The aircraft isn’t a 737 Max, the Boeing version that was grounded from March 2019 until last December after two fatal crashes.

Difficult questions

Last contact with the plane, with the call sign SJY182, was created at 14:40 local time (07:40 GMT), according to the transportation ministry. The usual flight period to Pontianak, in the west of the island of Borneo, is 90 minutes.

It did not send a distress signal, according to the mind of nationwide search and rescue agency Air Marshal Bagus Puruhito.

There were believed to be 50 passengers – including seven children and three babies – and 12 crew on board, even though the plane has a capacity of 130. Everyone on board was Indonesian, officials say.

Relatives of the passengers have been waiting anxiously at the airport in Pontianak, as well as at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

“I have four family members on the airport my wife and my three kids,” Yaman Zai told colleagues through tears.

“[My wife] sent me a photo of the baby now… How could my heart not be torn into bits?”

According to registration details, the airplane is a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500.

It had been in good shape, Sriwijaya Air chief executive Jefferson Irwin Jauwena told reporters. Take-off was delayed for 30 minutes as a result of heavy rain,” he explained.

Sriwijaya Air, founded in 2003, is a neighborhood budget airline that flies into other and Indonesian South-East Asian destinations.

He airplane went missing about 20km (12 miles) north of the capital Jakarta, not far from where the next airport crashed in October 2018.

A total of 189 expired when an Indonesian Lion Air flight dropped to the sea about 12 minutes after take-off in the city.

That disaster was blamed on a series of failures in the airplane’s design, but also faults by the airline and the pilots.

It was one of two crashes that led regulators to pull the Boeing 737 Max out of service. The model resumed passenger flights in December following a systems overhaul.