Crash: Indonesian airliner carrying 56 passengers, six crew members missing

A Sriwijaya Air passenger jet carrying 62 people lost contact with air traffic controllers after taking off from Indonesia’s capital on Saturday on a domestic flight, officials said.

Sriwijaya Air B733 500

Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said the Boeing 737-500 took off from Jakarta at about 1:56 p.m. and lost contact with the control tower at 2:40 p.m.

A statement released by the airline said the plane was on an estimated 90-minute flight from Jakarta to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s Borneo island.

There were 56 passengers and six crew members onboard.

Irawati said in a statement that a search and rescue operation was underway in coordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee.

Local media reports said fishermen spotted metal objects believed to be parts of a plane on Saturday afternoon in the Thousand Islands, a chain of islands north of Jakarta.

Television footage showed relatives and friends of people aboard the plane weeping, praying and hugging each other as they waited at Jakarta’s airport and Pontianak’s airport.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.

Sriwijaya Air is one of Indonesia’s discount carriers, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.

AP

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