Boeing Plane Goes Missing After Take Off From Jakarta

By: Trisha Brahmachari — National and International News Editor

Amidst news of political unrest, vaccines, and disharmony, the traveling industry of the world is still up and running. On January 9, 2020, a Sriwijaya Air jetliner crashed shortly after taking off from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. 

The Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, a Boeing 737-500, was a 26-year-old plane traveling from Jakarta to Pontianak when it lost contact at 2:40 pm local time, just minutes before taking off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. About four minutes in the air, due to heavy rains, the plane dropped 10,000 feet in under a minute when it disappeared from the radar. Human remains such as body parts and clothing as well as plane wreckage were found at the crash site of the passenger jet carrying 62 people on board including 43 adults, 7 children, as well as 12 crew members. 

“Our thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand ready to support them during this difficult time,” said in a statement made by Boeing. 

At the time of the crash, three fishermen from Lancang Island heard an explosion and felt a sudden large wave. “I heard [a] very loud explosion. I thought it was a bomb or a big thunder. We then saw the big wave, about 2 meters high, hitting our boat,” said Hendrik Mulyadi.

“The plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water,” said Solihin, who only goes by one name. “It was pretty close to us, the shards of a kind of plywood almost hit my ship,” Solihin added. 

The fishermen did not see the plane itself crash, but when they started to smell fuel and spot debris, the men proceeded to return to shore to report what they had experienced to the police. 

Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency told reporters on Saturday that the plane likely crashed between the islands of Laki and Lancang, located in the Thousand Islands chain northwest of the capital, Jakarta.

Indonesian rescue team divers recovered pieces of debris the same color as the Sriwijaya aircraft, and a plane registration number, wheels from the landing gear, and life vests have been found. The crash site was confirmed on Sunday morning by the Indonesian National Armed Forces and Navy. 

National Transportation Safety Committee teams have begun an investigation into the actual cause of the crash. “We sent two investigators with Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency to the sea to do a location survey. We need to find more information on the location, for example, to determine what gear we are going to use regarding the underwater terrain we have,” said Suryanto Cahyono, the head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee.

Relatives of the passenger eagerly wait in the airports to hear news of their loved ones. “I have four family members on the flight – my wife and my three children… [My wife] sent me a picture of the baby today,” said Yaman Zai. 

The search for victims continues, in hopes that some can be found alive. “We will do our best to find and save the victims, and together, let’s pray that they can be found,” said Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo at the Presidential Palace. “In the name of the government and Indonesian people we would like to express our condolences on what has happened,” the Widodo added. 

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