Officials Believe Indonesia Airplane Crashed Shortly After Take Off

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Image via Getty/ADEK BERRY/AFP

A Sriwijaya Air plane carrying 62 passengers is believed to have crashed shortly after taking flight, Indonesia's Head Of National Transportation Safety Committee, Suryanto Cahyono, reported to CNN.

Sriwijaya Air flight 182 was flying from Jakarta to Indonesian Borneo when it lost contact around 2:40 a.m. ET on Saturday. The plane was carrying 50 passengers and 12 crew members, all of whom were Indonesian nationals. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told the media that officials believe the plane crashed between the islands of Laki and Lancang in the Thousand Islands chain northwest of Jakarta. Sumadi also confirmed that a dozen vessels—including four Indonesian Navy warships—were deployed as part of a search-and-rescue mission for the plane.

Captain Eko Suryo Hadi Prayitno Indonesia's Coast Guard reported that an emergency evacuation slide from a Boeing 737 (the same model of plane as flight 182) was found at sea where the crash is thought to have happened. The captain went on to explain that there was heavy rain and winds near the believed crash site that hindered the search. Still, officials were able to find more debris near Lancang Island. This debris will be given to the National Transportation Safety Committee to confirm if it came from the missing plane.

The flight lost contact close to 11 minutes after leaving Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at an altitude of 11,000 feet while climbing to 13,000 feet. Per the global flight tracking service Flightradar24, the plane dropped 10,000 feet in less than a minute before eventually disappearing from the radar. Sriwijaya Airlines CEO Jefferson Irwin Jauwena insists the 26-year-old aircraft was in good condition before it took flight.

"Of course we are very concerned about what happened to us with SJ 182," he said during a press conference on Saturday. "We hope that your prayers can help the search process run smoothly. We hope all is well."

A Boeing spokesperson told CNN that the company is "aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation."

"We are working to gather more information," the company explained.

Sriwijaya Air is Indonesia's third largest carrier. The low-cost airline carried more than 950,000 passengers a month from its hub in Jakarta to 53 domestic destinations and three regional countries. This incident comes less than two years after it was removed from the European Union's list of banned air carries where it sat for 11 years.

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