Indonesian vessels respond to crashed airliner in Java Sea

The Indonesian Navy corvette KRI John Lie (foreground) during an exercise with US Navy ships in 2015 (Photo: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joe Bishop)

The Indonesian Navy, the Indonesian National Police, local search and rescue (SAR) agency Basarnas, and various other partners have deployed some of their vessels in response to an incident wherein a commercial passenger aircraft crashed in the Java Sea some 20 kilometres off Jakarta.

Local authorities said a Boeing 737-500 airliner operating as Flight 182 of local carrier Sriwijaya Air descended from an altitude of 3,000 metres and impacted the waters of the Thousand Islands chain northwest of the country’s capital at around 14:40 local time on Saturday, January 9.

The crash occurred just four minutes after SJ182 took off from Jakarta on a scheduled flight to Pontianak in West Kalimantan some 740 kilometres away. Further, an air traffic controller who was on duty at the time said that no one on board the aircraft sent out mayday calls at any time until radio contact was lost.

The SAR effort was supervised by transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi and armed forces chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto from the Indonesian Navy corvette KRI John Lie (pictured), which operated as a command and control vessel.

On Sunday, January 10, rescuers claimed to have found metal scraps with aircraft components, human body parts, life jackets, and pieces of clothing at the reported crash site, raising fears that there are no survivors among SJ182’s 50 passengers and 12 crew.

Authorities said the aircraft’s wreckage was located by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that has been configured to detect the distinct signal emitted by SJ182’s emergency locator transmitter.

SAR teams are continuing to comb the area for any passenger and crew remains as well as additional debris that could help investigators determine the events that led to the crash.

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