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Indonesia plane crash: 'Body parts found' in huge search for missing Boeing 737

Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 a Boeing 737-500 was flying from Indonesian capital Jakarta on Saturday to Pontianak. It had more than 60 people on board

By Tom Davidson Assistant news editor, Sam Truelove, Thomas McArthur and Matthew Dresch

10:34, 9 JAN 2021Updated21:19, 9 JAN 2021

A Boeing 737 passenger plane has crashed into the sea after disappearing from radar and plunging 10,000ft.  The Sriwijaya Air passenger jet lost contact after taking off from Indonesian capital Jakarta earlier today en route to Pontianak in West Kalimantan province.  A local life boat captain claims to have found body parts and plane debris while searching for survivors.  Indonesian Disaster Victim Identification officers have also reportedly been seen carrying body bags ashore.  The missing aircraft had more than 60 people on board including 10 children.  The Indonesian navy claims says it has worked out the last known coordinates of the missing jet, and ships are being sent to the area.  Navy official Abdul Rasyid told reporters: "The coordinates have been found and have been given to all Navy vessels in the area."

Photos show rescue workers pulling debris from the water in a desperate search for survivors.  Captain EKo Surya Hadi, commander of a local life boat, told local TV journalists that human remains had been found, Mail Online reports.  He said: "We found body parts, life jackets, avtur (aviation turbine fuel) and debris of the plane."

An Indonesian rescue agency confirmed suspected debris of the flight had been found.  No radio beacon signal had been detected, the agency said.  Residents of Thousand Island said they heard two explosions before finding items in the sea.  It's been reported the plane fell 10,000ft in less than one minute, about four minutes after taking off.  Surachman, a local government official, told Kompas TV that fishermen found what appeared to be the wreckage of an aircraft in waters north of Jakarta and a search was underway.  Other channels showed pictures of suspected wreckage.  "We found some cables, a piece of jeans, and pieces of metal on the water," Zulkifli, a security official, told

The Indonesian Navy has deployed 11 ships to search for the wreckage underwater.  The plane is not a 737 Max, the Boeing model involved in two major crashes in recent years.  According to there were 62 people on board - 56 passengers, four crew members and two pilots.  All on board the plane were Indonesian, Indonesia's transport safety committee said.  Of the 56 passengers, 46 were adults, seven were children and three were infants. Their nationality's have not been disclosed.  Aviation monitoring service Flightradar24 tweeted: "Sriwijaya Air flight #SJ182 lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta."

Sriwijaya Air chief executive Jefferson Irwin Jauwena told reporters that the aircraft was in good condition and had been delayed for 30 minutes ahead of takeoff because of heavy rain.  A Boeing spokeswoman said: "We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation. We are working to gather more information".

According to CNBC Indonesia, the flight vanished at 2.40pm local time, moments after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta airport.  The last location of the plane was in the waters of the Java Sea above Banten Province.  The Sriwijaya Air plane lost contact around Lancang Island, Thousand Islands, the manager of branch communication and legal at Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Haerul Anwar, said.  It was raining at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at the time of take-off for Pontianak, around 740 km (460 miles) away.  Video images from the airport showed pictures of relatives of the passengers in tears as they awaited news of the fate of the aircraft.  The plane was almost 27-years-old and was originally flown by carriers in the United States.  The Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesperson, Adita Irawati, confirmed that there had been a loss of contact with the Sriwijaya Air aircraft, reports CNBC Indonesia.  "We are currently under investigation and coordinated with Basarnas and the National Transportation Accident Committee (KNKT)," said Adita.

A Boeing 737 MAX operated by Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed off Jakarta in late 2018, killing all 189 passengers and crew. The plane that lost contact today is a much older model.  Bagus Puruhito, head of the country's search and rescue agency Basarnas, said teams had been dispatched to search the waters north of Jakarta.  The Indonesian Red Cross Society say they have 50 volunteers on standby to help with recovery efforts.  Sriwijaya Air is one of the Indonesian domestic leading airlines. It carries over 1,000,000 passengers per month, from its hub at Soekarno Hatta International Airport to more than 55 destinations in 2 regional countries, including extraordinary and popular tourism spots in Indonesia.