What to know about the missing Boeing 737 plane that went missing over the Java Sea

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Rescue teams in Indonesia prepare for day 2 of search for missing Boeing Co. jet carrying 62 people that at least one agency has described ascrashafter discovering debris which is “strongly suspected” of being part of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182.

The plane lost radio contact shortly after taking off from Jakarta on Saturday afternoon. The country’s research agency said the debris found in the Java Sea is similar to that circulating earlier on social media, and its efforts on Sunday will focus on both the air and the sea, as well. than underwater. A local news organization said authorities had received a report that a plane had crashed on a nearby uninhabited island in an area north of the capital.

The likely crash once again pushed the country’s aviation industry into crisis mode. The Southeast Asian nation has seen a series of plane crashes over the past decade, including the Lion Air 610 flight disaster that killed 189 people in 2018, the first of two 737 crashes. Max before the world grounding. In December 2014, an AirAsia Group Bhd. Dived in the Java Sea with 162 people on board.

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Weather conditions have contributed to several of the past accidents. Heavy rains in Jakarta delayed the takeoff of the 90-minute flight to Pontianak on the island of Borneo on Saturday. About three minutes after takeoff, it stabilized at an altitude of around 10,000 to 11,000 feet for nearly a minute before descending rapidly to the water in just 14 seconds, according to tracking data from Flightradar24. This meant it was dropping to over 40,000 feet per minute, a rate far higher than routine operations.

Without access to the aircraft’s black box flight recorders yet, it’s impossible to say what may have triggered the sudden dive, said Jeffrey Guzzetti, the former chief of accident investigations at the US Federal Aviation Administration. -United. “Right now, given the amount of scarce information, this flight track could adapt to many scenarios, such as flight crew confusion, instrumentation issues, catastrophic mechanical failures or even an intentional act, ”he said.

The plane that Sriwijaya Air was flying is a Model 737-500much older than the Max 737 aircraft.

“It’s not even the model before the Max, it’s been in service for 30 years, so it’s unlikely to be a design flaw,” said Richard Aboulafia, aviation analyst at Teal Group Corp. “Thousands of these planes were built and production ended over 20 years ago, so something would have been discovered by now.

The plane’s disappearance comes as the aviation industry reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought air travel to its knees. Covid-19 has torn apart in a tumultuous and unprecedented way – leaving carriers in a deep hole, along with a constellation of aerospace manufacturers, airports and rental companies. The International Air Transport Association said last week that global demand for passengersdropped significantlyin November, down 70% compared to the same period in 2019, measured in revenue passenger-kilometers.

“Although we do not know anything else about the cause of this accident, what concerns me most are the serious concerns regarding Indonesian aviation safety standards that have been identified by the Aviation Safety Agency of the United Kingdom. ‘European Union and others years ago,’ Aboulafia said. “I am not entirely sure that the correct procedures have been put in place.”

Indonesian authorities say they have dispatched several research vessels from Jakarta to the plane’s last known location in the Java Sea, which is only about 25 meters deep, and that divers are preparing to search for the box. black plane. First responders have also been deployed to the site to assist potential survivors, local television reported. Of the 62 people, 56 were passengers, including seven children and three babies, and there were two pilots and four cabin crew members, local media reported. There were no foreign nationals on board.

“We are aware of media reports from Jakarta and are monitoring the situation closely,” Boeing spokeswoman Zoe Leong said in a statement. “We are working to collect more information.” Sriwijaya Air said it was working to get more detailed information on the flight and would issue an official statement later.

The United States’ National Transportation Safety Board has appointed a lead investigator to help with the investigation, but is awaiting more information before determining if it will send a team, it said in an emailed statement. . Under a United Nations treaty, the NTSB along with technical experts from Boeing and possibly manufacturers of other components would participate in the probe because the jet was built in the United States.

The Model 737-500 first flew in 1989 and, according to the tracking website Planespotters.net, this particular aircraft first flew in May 1994. The last contact of the jet was at 2:40 pm , according to Budi Karya Sumadi, Indonesian Minister of Transport.

Debris, oil spill

Fishermen from the Thousand Islands Regency found debris and an oil spill in the water, according to a video broadcast by local news channel MetroTV. Images also showed found parts that are believed to have come from the emergency slide, with words such as “Boeing” and “737” written on a tag. The Regent of the Thousand Islands received a report of a plane crashing intoLaki IslandSaturday afternoon, he told local news website Detik.com.

Indonesia, which had one of the fastest growing airline industries in the world before Covid, has an uneven safety record when it comes to air accidents. Its bad aviation history saw the nation’s carriers banned from the European Union in 2007 and it wasn’t until June 2018 that thethe total ban has been lifted. In 1997, Garuda Indonesia flight 152 crashed on approach to an airport in Medan in North Sumatra, killing 234. AirAsia flight 8501 which crashed in late 2014 was en route to Singapore from Surabaya.

On October 29, 2018, the Lion Air-flown Boeing 737 Max plunged into the Java Sea 13 minutes after take-off, killing all 189 passengers and crew. It was the second deadliest plane crash in Indonesia behind Garuda Flight 152.

Boeing woes

The coronavirus pandemic has complicated aviation to the extent that pilots do not have enough opportunities to fly because airlines have ground planes and cut back on operations due to declining demand. On September 15, an Indonesian flight carrying 307 passengers and 11 crew members to the northern city of Medanmomentarily left the trackafter landing, which sparked an investigation by the country’s transportation safety regulator. He revealed that the pilot had flown less than three hours in the previous 90 days. The first officer had not flown at all since February 1.

Saturday’s incident also follows a tumultuous time for Boeing, which only owned its 737 Max in November.allowed to fly againby the United States Federal Aviation Administration, bringing an end to the longest airliner grounding in United States history. The Brazilian Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA was the first airline to resume regular flights using the jet, from December 9 on domestic routes from Sao Paulo. American Airlines Group Inc. has since reintroduced the Max on Miami-New York flights.

Rules

Earlier this month, Boeing hit $ 2.5 billionagreementwith the Justice Department to settle a criminal charge that he defrauded the U.S. government by withholding information about the 737 Max, ending a two-year investigation that devastated Boeing’s reputation for its engineering prowess.

Sriwijaya Air was established in November 2003. Its fleet consists of the Boeing 737 family and ATR 72-600 turboprop engines. Although the company mainly serves national routes, it serves internationally to Penang, Malaysia and Dili, Timor-Leste. National carrier PT Garuda Indonesia briefly resumed operation of Sriwijaya and its NAM Air unit in 2018 to accelerate Sriwijaya’s debt restructuring, including the clearance of contributions to the Garuda unit.

The Boeing aircraft in question had been operated by Sriwijaya Air since 2012, according to fleet data on Planespotters.net, and was previously used by Continental Air Lines and United Airlines Holdings Inc.

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