Divers in Indonesia have found body parts and wreckage from the Sriwijaya Air 737 that plunged more than 10,000 feet into the Java Sea on Saturday.
It came after the Indonesian Navy dispatched 11 vessels to hunt for the crash site, where the 62 people on board, including seven children and three babies, are believed to be located.
Later on Sunday, investigators also confirmed they had located the aircraft’s black box, though have still yet to find any survivors.
One local fisherman, Solihin, told the BBC he had witnessed the incident personally: “The plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water,” he said. “It was pretty close to us, the shards of a kind of plywood almost hit my ship.”
Pesawat sriwijaya jatuh pic.twitter.com/OYxtASYnCO
— Penikmat Seblak (@Lakss17) January 9, 2021
Earlier on Sunday afternoon, Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said he was sure that he had located the point at which the plane crashed. “We received reports from the diver team that the visibility in the water is good and clear, allowing the discovery of some parts of the plane,” he said.
It has now also been confirmed that the aircraft crashed between Lancang Island and Laki Island in the Thousand Islands area. Previously, fishermen working in the area were among the first to find debris and an oil spill in the water.
“We found some cables, a piece of jeans, and pieces of metal on the water,” Zulkifli, a security official, told CNNIndonesia.com
This is what we know about Sriwijaya Air flight #SJ182 based on ADS-B data.
Route: Jakarta to Pontianak
Aircraft: Boeing 737-500, PK-CLC
Take off: 07:36 UTC
Highest altitude: 10,900 feet
Last altitude: 250 feet
Signal lost: 07:40 UTChttps://t.co/fNZqlIR2dz pic.twitter.com/CPzFJdsuJZ
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 9, 2021
The Sea and Coast Guard Unit (KPLP) added they found what appears to be its emergency staircase, too.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged people to pray for the victims. “I represent the government and all Indonesians in expressing my deep condolences for this tragedy,” he said. “We are doing our best to save the victims. We pray together so that the victims can be found.”
Overnight, Flightradar24 has released more data about the incident. The 26-year-old Sriwijaya Air 737-524, PK-CLC msn 27323, crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on 9 January 2021. It departed at 07:36 UTC (14:36 local time) and the last ADS-B signal was received by Flightradar24 just four minutes later at 07:40 UTC.
Significantly, it was recorded climbing to a maximum altitude of 10,900 feet at 07:40:06, but then began a sharp decline that saw it plunge to just 250 feet at 07:40:27.
A transport ministry spokesperson added that air traffic control at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport asked the pilot why the plane was heading north-west seconds before it disappeared.
Sriwijaya Air’s chief executive, Jefferson Irwin Jauwena, said the near 27-year-old plane had been in good condition before the flight, while a Boeing spokesman said, “We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation. We are working to gather more information.”
Sriwijaya Air took delivery of PK-CLC in 2012, but it was originally delivered to Continental Airlines in 1994. The aircraft is operated by two CFM56-3C1 engines.