Sriwijaya Air crash: Indonesia divers search wreckage as black box hunt resumes (2021)

Indonesian divers search crash wreckage

The Indonesian navy has released footage of divers searching through the wreckage of a passenger plane which crashed into the sea at the weekend as the hunt for its black boxes resumes.

Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 left Jakarta with 62 people on board, but vanished from the radar on its way to Borneo island on Saturday.

Search teams have found aircraft parts and human remains and believe they know where the black boxes are located.

The first victim has been identified.

Okky Bisma, a 29-year-old flight attendant on the plane, was identified by his fingerprints, officials said late on Monday.

One official stressed the urgency of the search mission calling it a "24-hour" operation.

"It's going to be an around-the-clock operation," Rasman MS, head of the search and rescue agency's crash operations told reporters.

"There will be no breaks. The sooner we can find the victims, the better."

According to news wire AFP, some 2,600 personnel are currently involved in the search operation along with more than 50 ships and 13 aircraft. Divers have been recovering body parts, wreckage and passengers' clothing from waters about 23 metres (75ft) deep.

The search resumed on Monday morning. IMAGE COPYRIGHT - INSTAGRAM/@SAR_NASIONAL

There appears to be no hope of finding any survivors.

Navy chief of staff Yudo Margono said the search team had pinpointed the location of the black box cockpit voice and flight data recorders and a remote-controlled vehicle was being used to scan the sea bed.

"There is so much debris down there and we have only lifted a few pieces. Hopefully, as we take out more [the recorders] can be found," he told reporters.

The fact the debris does not appear to have spread far suggests the plane may have been intact before it hit the water, an investigator with Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) told news agency Reuters.

"It possibly ruptured when it hit waters because if it had exploded mid-air, the debris would be distributed more widely," said Nurcahyo Utomo.

Investigators are already analysing items which they believe to be a wheel and part of the plane's fuselage. A turbine from one of its engines is also among the debris that has been recovered.

What happened to the aircraft?

The Sriwijaya Air passenger plane departed from Jakarta's main airport at 14:36 local time (07:36 GMT) on Saturday.

Minutes later, at 14:40, the last contact with the plane was recorded, with the call sign SJY182, according to the transport ministry.

The usual flight time to Pontianak, in West Kalimantan province in the west of the island of Borneo, is 90 minutes.

There were thought to be 50 passengers - including seven children and three babies - and 12 crew on board, though the plane has a capacity of 130. Everyone on board was Indonesian, officials say.

Chart showing altitude data from flight SJ182

The plane is thought to have dropped more than 3,000m (10,000ft) in less than a minute, according to flight tracking website

Witnesses said they had seen and heard at least one explosion.

What do we know about the plane?

The missing aircraft is not a 737 Max, the Boeing model that was grounded from March 2019 until last December following two deadly crashes.

According to registration details, the plane was a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500.

It was in good condition, Sriwijaya Air chief executive Jefferson Irwin Jauwena told reporters. Take-off had been delayed for 30 minutes due to heavy rain, he said.

Indonesian Navy personnel carry debris believed to be from the Sriwijaya Air SJ-182 plane

Sriwijaya Air, founded in 2003, is a local budget airline which flies to Indonesian and other South-east Asian destinations.

The plane went missing about 20km (12 miles) north of the capital Jakarta, not far from where another flight crashed in October 2018.

A total of 189 died when an Indonesian Lion Air flight plunged into the sea about 12 minutes after take-off from the city.

That disaster was blamed on a series of failures in the plane's design, but also faults by the airline and the pilots.

It was one of two crashes that led regulators to pull the Boeing 737 Max from service. The model resumed passenger flights in December after a systems overhaul.

-- Courtesy of BBC Sport