A plane carrying 62 people on board and operated by Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta, the country’s transport minister said.
Budi Karya Sumadi confirmed that flight SJY-182 crashed near the island of Male, as reported by the local newspaper Detik.
The Boeing 737-500 sank 10,000 feet in less than a minute as it flew over the Java Sea, minutes after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, according to the Flight24 tracking website, which followed its flight route to the north coast. from the capital.
The plane was on a 90-minute flight to Pontianak, the capital of the province of West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo in Indonesia, and lost contact at 2:40 p.m. Local time on Saturday.
The passengers on board consist of 43 adults and seven children. There were also 12 crew members.
Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency Basarnas said earlier that the plane crashed between the islands of Lucky and Lankang, in the chain of Thousand Islands. The Indonesian navy has deployed five warships and diving troops to cover the area.
Witnesses described hearing an explosion and finding objects in the water believed to be from an airplane. A fisherman told the BBC that “the plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water”.
Sriwijaya Air said it was “in contact with various related parties for more detailed information” and that “it will issue an official statement immediately” pending further information.
The low-cost airline is the third largest carrier in Indonesia. Its website says it carries more than 950,000 passengers a month from its center in Jakarta to 53 destinations in Indonesia and three regional countries.
The aircraft registered PK CLC is a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500, which is not to be confused with the much more modern 737 Max.
This model was founded after two crashes in the last two years, including one off the coast of Indonesia, where flight 610 of Lion Air 610 crashed in the Java Sea in October 2018, killing all 189 on board.
Boeing said in a statement: “We are aware of the media reports from Jakarta and are monitoring the situation closely. We are working to gather more information.”