Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ18, which was carrying between 56 and 65 people, was traveling from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to Pontianak in the West Kalimantan province on the afternoon of 9 January and lost contact shortly after taking off.
According to Flightradar24, Flight SJ182 lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about four minutes after departure from Jakarta. Indonesian Transport Ministry officials have confirmed that the plane crashed in Jakarta Bay, and that there are no survivors.
Police have asked families of the victims to provide DNA samples and dental records to help identify those that were in the tragic crash.
According to Bagus Puruhito, the Head of Air Marshal, the national search and rescue agency, the aircraft did not send a distress signal. The airline is still gathering information about the incident and has yet to make an official statement.
Airline recognised for operational safety
The aircraft, which was 26 years old, had the highest certification of safety available in Indonesia, eTurboNews reports. And Sriwijaya Air has received multiple awards throughout the years for the safety and maintenance of its aircraft, also being listed as a Category 1 airline (the highest status in operational safety) by Indonesia’s Civil Aviation Authority.
However, following the Lion Air Boeing 737 Max plane crash of 2018, in which a total of 189 people died, the safety of budget Indonesian airlines may well once again be called into question. Indeed, a business correspondent for BBC News, Theo Leggett, notes that for more than a decade, carriers from Indonesia were previously banned from flying into the European Union due to poor records of aviation safety.
Could the safety of Boeing aircraft once again be called into question following this incident too? Back in January 2020, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines crashed in Iran shortly after losing contact with the airport facilities. However, it is with noting that it was only the aircraft in the Lion Air crash, the Boeing 737 Max, that was placed under investigation and subsequently grounded around the world. Also, as previously mentioned, the aircraft was one of Sriwijaya Air’s older planes – the airline is currently in the process of renewing much of its fleet.
Black boxes recovered from crash site
On 11 January, transport officials retrieved the aircraft black boxes from the crash site of the Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ18. These will provide vital information about the air accident.