Sriwijaya plane crash: Police divers join search, rescue operation

Jakarta Divers from the National Police’s Water Police Unit (Polair) have joined the search and rescue operation for the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182, which crashed into the ocean near Jakarta on January 9, 2021.

The search and rescue operation is focusing on retrieving the victims and the aircraft’s body parts from the site of the crash, officials said.

"We are focusing on finding the crashed aircraft's victims because we believe that their families are waiting for confirmed information on them," National Police's Polair director, Brig.Gen.Yassin Kosasih, said on Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists on board Polair vessel Bisma 8003 in the Thousand Islands waters, he said the Indonesian Defence Forces (TNI) were directing their efforts towards retrieving the aircraft's black boxes.

The flight data recorder of the ill-fated Boeing 737-500 jet, which was carrying 50 passengers and 12 crew members, was finally retrieved at 4 p.m. local time on Tuesday while the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder was not yet found.

According to Kompas TV, the aircraft's black box was found on the seabed, 23 meters below the surface of the waters between the islands of Laki and Lancang, and was retrieved by the Indonesian Navy's divers.

The device was then moved to the Navy's sea rider boat and transported to the Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta. From the JICT, it was handed over to KNKT officials for examination.

Regarding the air accident, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said the crash has prompted the government to look into improving the domestic aircraft maintenance system.

"This is a tragedy. Hence, in my opinion, we will continue to improve the maintenance of our aircraft," the minister remarked at the online launch of the Proud of Indonesian Products movement on Monday.

Pandjaitan expressed his condolences to the families of the crash victims and also led prayers for the victims at the event.

The Transportation Ministry earlier confirmed that airport authorities had lost contact with Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182, serving the Jakarta-Pontianak route, around 2:40 p.m. local time on Saturday.

According to the ministry, the last contact with the Boeing 737-500 jet, bearing the registration number PK-CLC, was made at 11 nautical miles north of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, after the aircraft crossed an altitude of 11 thousand feet and was climbing to 13 thousand feet.

The plane took off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport at 2:40 p.m. local time on Saturday and was scheduled to land at Supadio Airport in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, at 3:50 p.m. local time.

Source: Antara News

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