Thursday, January 28, 2021

Indonesian plane crash: Human remains found

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Divers pulled human remains, wreckage, and clothing from waters off the Indonesian capital, Jakarta on Sunday, as the military picked up a signal from the wreckage of a passenger jet that crashed with 62 people on board.

The Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 went into a steep dive about four minutes after it left Soekarno-Hatta international airport in Jakarta on Saturday afternoon.

A military vessel picked up the plane’s signal, and divers recovered wreckage from around 23 meters (75 feet) below the water’s surface, the transport ministry said Sunday, citing Indonesia’s military chief Hadi Tjahjanto.

It did not specify if the signal was from the downed plane’s voice and flight data recorder.

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Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo expressed his “deep condolences”, and called on citizens to “pray together so that victims can be found”.

But the frantic search involving helicopters and a flotilla of warships appeared to offer no hope of finding any survivors.

The search and rescue agency said it had so far collected five body bags with human remains as well as debris from the crash site.

A child’s pink clothing, a broken tire and wheel, life jackets, and wreckage from the plane were found, according to authorities and AFP reporters on the scene.

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Among the passengers were Beben Sofian, 59, and her husband Dan Razanah, 58.

“They took a selfie and sent it to their kids before taking off,” the couple’s nephew Hendra told AFP.

All 62 people on board, passengers and crew, were Indonesians, including 10 children, authorities said.

Flight SJ182 was bound for Pontianak city on Indonesia’s section of Borneo island, about 90 minutes flying time over the Java Sea.

On Saturday night, distraught relatives waited nervously for news at Pontianak airport.

“I have four family members on the flight — my wife and three children,” Yaman Zai said as he sobbed.

“(My wife) sent me a picture of the baby today… How could my heart not be torn into pieces?”

The plane crashed near popular day-trip islands just off the coast.

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Data from FlightRadar24 indicated that the airliner reached an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) before dropping suddenly to 250 feet. It then lost contact with air traffic control.

The transport minister said Saturday that the jet appeared to deviate from its intended course just before it disappeared from radar.

Poor weather, pilot error, or a technical problem with the plane were potential factors, said Jakarta-based aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman.

“But it’s way too early to conclude anything,” he added.

“After the black box is found we can start putting the puzzle together.”

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Sriwijaya Air, which operates flights to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, has said only that it was investigating the loss of contact.

It did not immediately comment when contacted by AFP again on Sunday.

 

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