Indonesian flight loses contact shortly after takeoff, Search operations underway

The plane lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than a minute, reported flight tracker website FlightRadar24.

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Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air lost contact with a Boeing 737-500 passenger jet that was scheduled to leave Jakarta at 1.25 pm local time for the city of Pontianak in West Kalimantan on Saturday.

The Boeing 737 passenger plane carrying more than 50 passengers has disappeared over the sea in Indonesia just minutes after taking off.

According to flight tracking services, the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 appears to have rapidly lost altitude a few minutes after taking off from Jakarta. The domestic flight was due for Pontianak. The aircraft was about 26 years old.

The Sriwijaya Air flight SJY 182 was travelling from Soekarno-Hatta airport in the capital Jakarta to Pontianak, in West Kalimantan province.

Data on Flightradar suggests the plane fell 10,000ft (3,000m) in less than a minute.

Indonesia’s transport ministry confirmed a search and rescue investigation is underway after contact was lost with the flight.

“The missing plane is currently under investigation and under co-ordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee”. At this point, we are investigating and coordinating the matter with Basarnas (the search and rescue agency) and KNKT (the transport safety body). We will release more information as soon as there are developments.”Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said.

Flight tracking showed the flight path of flight SJ182 ending off the coast just north of Jakarta after losing altitude.

There were 62 people on board, comprising 56 passengers and six flight crew.

Plane debris has been pulled from the sea near where it vanished, according to local reports.

Local footage appears to show a rescue team searching for survivors out at sea.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with a population of more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transport accidents on land, sea, and air due to overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.

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