Indonesian rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the Java Sea early on Sunday morning has confirmed that wreckage has been found from the Sriwijaya Air passenger plane carrying 62 people that apparently crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.
Officials were hopeful they were honing in on the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 after sonar equipment detected a signal from the aircraft as the transportation Minister told reporters that authorities have launched massive search efforts after identifying “the possible location of the crash site.”
Jakarta Police spokesperson told VOA, “We really hope that the closest relatives could come to the hospital. They should take DNA test to confirm the body parts that we have found. We also asked them to bring the medical record, such as dental record, or perhaps a tattoo.”
VOA radio affiliates in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, reported that some family members came to Supadio Airport to find out more information regarding the plane. Some family members could not hide their sorrow and were seen crying and screaming at the crisis center’s staff.
Fishermen in the area around Thousand Islands, a chain of islands north of Jakarta’s coast, reported hearing an explosion around 2.30pm Saturday (6.30pm AEDT).
“We heard something explode, we thought it was a bomb or a tsunami since after that we saw the big splash from the water,” fisherman Solihin, who goes by one name, told The Associated Press by phone.
lightradar24, the flight tracking service, said the Boeing 737 “lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta.”
“The missing plane is currently under investigation and under coordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee,” government spokesperson Adita Irawati said in a statement.
Minister of Transportation Budi Karya told reporters the National Search and Rescue Agency and the military deployed ships to search for the plane.
The minister said the plane took off at 2:36 pm local time Saturday but four minutes later air traffic control could no longer contact it. “Within seconds the plane disappeared from the radar,” he added. It disappeared from radar four minutes later, after the pilot contacted air traffic control to ascend to an altitude of 29,000 feet (8,839 meters), Air Chief Marshal Tjahjanto said.
There were 62 people on board, including seven children and three babies. “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.”
Authorities established two crisis centers, one at the airport and one at the port. Families gathered to wait for news of loved ones. On social media, people began circulating the flight manifesto with photos and videos of those who were listed as passengers.
One video shows a woman with her children waving goodbye while walking through the airport.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.