Indonesia launched a search operation after a 737-500 passenger plane operated by Indonesian carrier Sriwijaya Air lost contact shortly after take off from Jakarta.
Flightradar24, which tracks live air traffic around the world, shows the nearly 30-year-old plane reached an altitude of 10,900 feet before appearing to make a sharp turn and then drop to 250 feet where contact was lost .
The plane was heading for Pontianak, the capital of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan.
Indonesian authorities have confirmed that the plane lost contact and said fragments were found, but could not confirm whether they came from flight SJ182. Research would begin Sunday morning when visibility improved, they said.
The airline could not be reached for comment.
Kompas TV, an Indonesian broadcaster, showed live footage of local fishermen wielding cables found in the water north of Jakarta. Fishermen heard two explosions, the broadcaster said on its website. Reports said the plane was carrying 50 passengers.
The missing aircraft is a much older model than the 737 Max, which was involved in two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. It does not use the same systems that have been identified as contributing to crashes in which 346 people died .
The aircraft was powered by two CFM56-3C1 engines, produced by the CFM joint venture of General Electric and Safran, according to the Aviation Safety Network.
Boeing said in a statement it was aware of reports that the plane had crashed. “We are aware of media reports from Jakarta and are monitoring the situation closely. We are working to collect more information, ”the group said.
Saturday’s crash comes as Boeing tries to rebuild its credibility after an Indonesia-operated Lion Air Max plane crashed in October 2018, killing 189 people. Five months later, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing 157 people.
This week, Boeing agreed to pay $ 2.5 billion to resolve a criminal charge of misleading federal aviation regulators about the safety of the 737 Max. The 737 Max has been recertified for commercial flight in recent weeks after significant software changes.