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the flight path of flight SJ182. (Photo: FLightRadar24)

Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182 Radar Contact Lost After Departure from Jakarta

Update – Tuesday, January 12

Indonesian Navy divers have now retrieved at least one of the black boxes from the wreckage of flight SJ182, although it is unclear if it is the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) or the flight data recorder (FDR).

More than 3,600 personnel are taking part in the recovery effort with the wreckage of the 26-year-old Boeing scattered at the bottom of the Java Sea.

According to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), at least one of the aircraft’s engines was running when it hit the water, based on the initial damage inspection on parts of the wreckage which has been retrieved.

“The damage on the fan blade showed that the engine was still working on impact,” KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono said in a statement.

“This is consistent with the hypothesis that the plane’s system was still working at an altitude of 76 metres,” he said, noting the plane was transmitting data at that altitude.

The Indonesian Transport Ministry revealed the aircraft was, like many other aircraft across the world, grounded between March and December last year due to the drop in air traffic demand. But following its return to service in December, it passed its airworthiness inspection on December 14 and subsequently flew throughout the holiday period up until the day of the accident.

Update – Sunday, January 10

Just over 24 hours have passed since the devastating news regarding flight SJ182. So far the search and rescue operation is still underway and divers have now located the wreckage at the bottom of the Java Sea, at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet), thanks to a sonar detection from one of the navy ship’s detection system. Also, crucially, both black boxes have been found. This will assist with the investigation to find out what caused this accident and should provide some answers within the coming weeks and months.

It has also been confirmed that there were 62 people on board the Boeing 737. This was made up of six crew members, 46 adults, seven children and three infants. According to other reports, six other crew members for the airline was on board, but flew as passengers, to operate another flight later.

Regarding the flight itself, the departure of SJ182 was delayed, but due to bad weather resulting in heavy rain, rather than any maintenance issues that were speculated. The aircraft had been flying regularly prior to yesterday’s accident, which implies there had been no heavy maintenance involved with the aircraft prior to the flight.

Local eyewitnesses gave statements to local media saying, “We heard something explode — we thought it was a bomb or a tsunami since after that we saw a big splash from the water.

“It was raining heavily and the weather was so bad, so it was difficult to see around clearly,” The fisherman said. “But we saw the splash and a big wave after the loud sound. We were very shocked and saw the plane debris and the fuel around our boat.”

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has appointed a senior investigator to assist in the investigation but will hold off until more information becomes available before determining whether it will send a team. Boeing said on Saturday evening it would assist where it can to help find the cause of another of its Boeing 737 aircraft to crash.

Saturday, January 9

A Boeing 737-500 that departed from Jakarta Airport, Indonesia, lost radar contact and has crashed in the Java Sea whilst operating a scheduled flight to Pontianak, Indonesia.

Flight SJ182, operated by Sriwijaya Air, took off from Jakarta’s primary airport, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, just after 2:30 pm local time, 62 people are now known to have been onboard. Operated by a 26-year-old Boeing 737-524, registered PK-CLC, the aircraft began a right-hand turn to the north and climbed to an altitude of 10,000 feet before suffering a drop in altitude recorded with severe negative vertical speeds, according to FlightRadar24. The tracking website lost signal of the aircraft four minutes after departure.

Indonesia’s transport ministry confirms a search and rescue operation is now underway. Indonesia’s KNKT (National Transportation Safety Commission) has opened an investigation and will begin a search for the aircraft’s black boxes on Sunday, January 10.

“Sriwijaya Air is still in contact with various related parties to get more detailed information regarding the SJ-182 flight from Jakarta to Pontianak,” the company said in a statement.

The aircraft involved was built in 1994 and first operated for Continental Air Lines as N27610. In 2010 following the United-Continental merger, it transferred to United Airlines keeping its registration. Sriwijaya Air then took ownership in 2012 as United looked to offload older aircraft to make way for new deliveries.

Sriwijaya Air was founded in 2003 and is based out of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. It operates to 25 destinations mainly across Indonesia, but with some international flights to neighboring countries.

Its fleet is all Boeing, comprising of six 737-500, 11 737-800 and two 737-900ER aircraft. Out of the three variants, only the -500 aircraft come with a business class cabin, with the rest of the fleet in an all-economy configuration.

This page will be updated as more factual information becomes available.

James Dinsdale
James Dinsdale
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