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The Indonesian authorities say they have found the place where they believe a Boeing 737 passenger plane crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from the state capital Jakarta on Saturday.

The Sriwijaya Air Jet was carrying 62 people when it disappeared from radar four minutes after its trip to Pontianak in West Kalimantan Province.

There are now more than 10 ships with marine divers on site.

Investigators analyze items that they believe are debris.

A Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said two bags had been obtained from the search and rescue agency.

“The first bag contained the characteristics of the passengers, another bag contained body parts,” he told reporters, adding, “We are still identifying these results.”

Image rightsEPAImage descriptionIndonesian investigators inspect an item that they believe belongs to the missing plane

Search and rescue efforts were suspended overnight but resumed early Sunday. Four planes were also used to aid in the search.

The missing plane isn’t a 737 Max, the Boeing model that was grounded from March 2019 to last December after two fatal crashes.

What happened to the plane?

The Sriwijaya Air passenger aircraft left Jakarta Airport at 14:36 ​​local time (07:36 GMT) on Saturday.

Minutes later, at 2:40 p.m., according to the Ministry of Transport, the last contact with the aircraft was recorded with the callsign SJY182.

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

The plane did not send a distress signal, according to the head of the national search and rescue agency Air Marshal Bagus Puruhito.

According to flight tracking website Flightradar24.com, it is said to have fallen more than 3,000m in less than a minute.

Witnesses said they saw and heard at least one explosion.

The single name fisherman Solihin told the Indonesian BBC service that he had witnessed a crash and his captain decided to return to shore.

“The plane fell into the sea like lightning and exploded in the water,” he said. “It was pretty close to us, the pieces of some kind of plywood almost hit my ship.”

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A number of residents of an island near the plane told the BBC that they had found objects they believed were off the plane.

Who was on the flight?

It was believed that there were 50 passengers – including seven children and three babies – and 12 crew members on board, although the aircraft has a capacity of 130. All on board were Indonesians, officials say.

The relatives of the passengers waited with concern at Pontianak Airport and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.

Image rightsEPAImage descriptionFamily members of missing passengers await news at Pontianak Airport, Indonesia

“I have four family members on the flight – my wife and three children,” Yaman Zai told reporters tearfully.

“”[My wife] sent me a picture of the baby today … How could my heart not be torn to pieces? “

What do we know about the plane?

According to registration data, the aircraft was a 26 year old Boeing 737-500.

It was in good shape, Sriwijaya Air CEO Jefferson Irwin Jauwena told reporters. The start was delayed by 30 minutes due to heavy rain, he said.

Founded in 2003, Sriwijaya Air is a local low-cost airline serving Indonesian and other Southeast Asian destinations.

Image rightsGM Fikri Izzudin NoorImage descriptionThe Sriwijaya Air plane disappeared from the radar screens shortly after take-off (file photo)

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

A total of 189 people died when an Indonesian Lion Air flight crashed into the sea about 12 minutes after taking off from the city.

This disaster was attributed to a number of mistakes in aircraft design, but also to mistakes made by the airline and the pilots.

It was one of two accidents in which regulators took the Boeing 737 Max out of service. The model resumed passenger flights in December after a system overhaul.

Jakarta’s BBC’s Jerome Wirawan says recent events will raise difficult questions and emotions in Indonesia, whose aviation industry has been under intense scrutiny since the Lion Air crash.

Related topics

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  • Flight safety
  • Indonesia
  • Aviation accidents and incidents

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