Indonesia plane crash: Wreckage pulled from water as authorities detect possible black box signal

Authorities believe they have located the missing Boeing 737-500 jet that crashed in Indonesia with 62 people on board.

They said they were hopeful they were homing in on the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, after picking up a signal that could have come from the jet’s flight recorder.

It comes as rescuers said they found body parts and pieces of the plane’s fuselage in the Java sea near to where the plane is thought to have crashed.

The chief of the country’s search and rescue agency, Bagus Puruhito, said they were investigating signals found “in two points” which could be the plane’s black box.

The Boeing jet was flying from the capital Jakarta, to the island of Borneo, when it crashed around four minutes after take-off. Last contact was made at 2.40pm local time (7.40am in the UK).

Debris and pieces of wreckage were found between Lancang Island and Laki Island, National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Mr Puruhito added.

On Sunday, divers located further pieces of wreckage, including broken bits of fuselage with aircraft registration parts, at a depth of 23m (75ft).

The discovery came after teams on a navy ship picked up another signal from the plane which fitted with the coordinates from the last contact made by the pilots. Divers were then sent to search the area.

There has been no sign of survivors.

“I represent the government and all Indonesians in expressing my deep condolences for this tragedy,” President Joko Widodo said.

“We are doing our best to save the victims. We pray together so that the victims can be found.”

More than 12 hours on little is known about what caused the crash.

Tracking service Flightradar24 said on Twitter that the flight “lost more than 10,000ft (3,000m) of altitude in less than one minute” about four minutes after departure.

While fishermen in the area around Thousand Islands, a chain of islands north of Jakarta’s coast, reported hearing an explosion around 2.30pm local time on Saturday.

“We heard something explode, we thought it was a bomb or a tsunami since after that we saw the big splash from the water,” fisherman Solihin, who goes by one name, told The Associated Press.

“It was raining heavily, and the weather was so bad. So, it is difficult to see around clearly.

“But we can see the splash and a big wave after the sounds. We were very shocked and directly saw the plane debris and the fuel around our boat.”

Sriwijaya Air president Jefferson Irwin Jauwena said the plane, which was 26 years old and previously used by airlines in the United States, was airworthy.

He also revealed it had flown to Pontianak and Pangkal Pinang city on the same day without issue.

In October 2018, a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet operated by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda flight near Medan on Sumatra island.

The plane involved in Saturday’s incident did not have the automated flight-control system that played a role in the Lion Air crash and another crash of a 737 Max 8 jet in Ethiopia five months later, leading to the grounding of the Max 8 for 20 months.

And in December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore crashed into the sea, killing 162 people.

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