Updated at 05:16 a.m., 10th January,2021.
It has emerged that earlier today, a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 lost radar contact shortly after departing the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.
A Sriwijaya Air plane with more than 50 people on board has lost contact after taking off from Indonesian capital Jakarta on Saturday en route to the city of Pontianak in West Kalimantan province. It was operated by a 26-year old Boeing 737-500 registered PK-CLC.
Data from tracking website Flightradar24 suggests that it had reached almost 11,000 feet on its climb northwards over the Java Sea, before losing almost all of this height within a minute.
Adita Irawati, spokesperson from the Indonesian Ministry of Communications confirmed to local media that the flight “lost contact”.
“We are currently investigating and coordinating with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee”,she told local media Tribunnews.
“We will provide further information when there are other developments.“, she further added.
She further added that the Boeing 737-500 took off from Jakarta at about 1:56pm (local time) and lost contact with the control tower at 2:40pm (local time).
Indonesia’s Kementerian Perhubungan Ministry Of Transportation has confirmed that search and rescue efforts for the aircraft and its passengers and crew are underway, according to BBC.
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 CNNIndonesia.com.
Agus Haryono, an official from Basarnas, said suspected debris of the missing flight has been found off Jakarta, but cannot confirm that it came from the Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182.
Mr Surachman told CNN Indonesia that residents heard two loud explosions which residents initially thought was lightning before he went to the water to investigate.
“Initially I received reports from fishermen, two of their boats saw an explosion from the sea twice when it was still raining at 2:00pm [local time].Currently I am still at the scene of the incident in the middle of the sea. We are looking for evidence using an anchor.”, he said.
Mr Surachman also told local media that the location of the incident was 15 minutes from Lancang Island, one of the islands which make up Indonesia’s Thousand Islands district.
According to Air Marshal Bagus Puruhito, Head of Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency, the aircraft did not send a distress signal at any point in its four-minute flight, even during the rapid descent from nearly 11,000 feet.
This is a developing story. Please refresh for further updates.