On Sunday, Indonesian authorities continued to search for the wreckage of a Boeing 737-500 carrying 62 people which dived heavily, then crushed in the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Saturday afternoon.
A dozen Navy ships with divers have been deployed to an area of the Thousand Islands in waters just northwest of the capital, where officials have said they believe Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 had crashed.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo confirmed the crash on Sunday and expressed condolences for what he called the “tragedy” that befell the flight. The Indonesian leader said in a statement that after being informed that the plane had lost radar contact on Saturday afternoon, he ordered the relevant authorities to conduct search and rescue operations.
The Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency began searching for the wreckage on Saturday evening. He said he collected parts he said came from the plane on the scene, but struggled with poor visibility before resuming the search on Sunday.
According to the flight monitoring group Flightradar24, the plane lost more than 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) of altitude in less than a minute, about four minutes after takeoff in Jakarta on Saturday.
Flight SJ-182 was heading for Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province of Jakarta on the island of Borneo, when it took off at 2:36 p.m. and then disappeared from radar at around 2:40 p.m. local time.
The 26-year-old plane did not send a distress signal, said Air Marshal Bagus Puruhito, the head of Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency.
Fishermen from the region at the time of the accident Told Associated Press, they heard an explosion around 2:30 p.m.
Police set up a disaster victim identification command post at a police hospital in East Jakarta to identify crash victims, Indonesian News Agency Antara reported on Sunday.
The Boeing plane was a much older model than the 737 MAX involved in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in 2018 which killed 189 people and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in 2019 which killed 157.
“We are aware of media reports from Jakarta regarding Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182,” Boeing said in a statement on Saturday. “Our hearts go out to the crew, passengers and their families. We are in contact with our airline customers and are ready to accompany them during this difficult time.