Indonesian divers have been scouring the Java Sea for wreckage and passenger belongings in hope of finding the black boxes from the jet which crashed on Saturday with 62 people on board.
Underwater footage of their rescue mission shows the divers examining the huge amount of debris from the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 which investigators say was still intact when it smashed into the sea.
A child’s Marvel backpack was among the distressing items found by the search team as they sifted through the wreckage from the plane which had plunged 10,000ft in a minute before the crash.
All 62 passengers and crew aboard the flight were Indonesian, including seven children and three babies.
Indonesian divers scouring the Java Sea for the wreckage of the plane which crashed on Saturday have found a huge amount of debris and passenger belongings
A child’s Marvel backpack was among the distressing items found by the search team as they sifted through the wreckage
Underwater footage of their rescue mission shows the divers examining the huge amount of debris from the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500
Shrapnel from the Sriwijaya Air plane was lifted from the crash site around the Thousand Islands as investigators say the jet was likely intact when it smashed into the water
A piece of one of the engines sits on the dock awaiting examination by crash investigators as they scour the sea for wreckage and passengers
Health workers spray disinfectant over body bags containing human remains recovered from the crash site of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 at the port in Jakarta on January 10
The plane – a Boeing B737-500 – is understood to have fallen 10,000 feet in less than 60 seconds just four minutes after it took off
Around 2,600 personnel are working in the recovery effort, with dozens of boats and helicopters hauling body parts, twisted piece of wreckage and passengers’ clothing from shallow waters about 75ft deep.
Body bags filled with human remains are being taken to a police hospital where investigators hope to identify victims by matching DNA from their remains to living relatives.
Investigators have so far been unable to say why the 26-year-old plane crashed just four minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, but say they do know the location of the black boxes in the sea.
Retrieving the bright orange boxes – cockpit voice and flight data recorders – will likely help explain why the jet plunged so quickly.
They’re built to survive at vast depths and in extreme heat, and are fitted with a beacon which can emit a signal for one month.
Underwater divers are searching for the plane’s black boxes which will help explain why the jet plunged so quickly
A family member of one of the victims of the plane crash is embraced by a police officer as she arrives for the post-mortem at a hospital in Jakarta
Around 2,600 personnel are working in the recovery effort, with dozens of boats and helicopters hauling body parts, twisted piece of wreckage and passengers’ clothing from shallow waters about 75ft deep
An investigator with Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said the jet possibly broke apart when it hit waters based on debris found so far
Investigators have so far been unable to say why the 26-year-old plane crashed just four minutes after takeoff from Jakarta
Aviation analysts said flight-tracking data showed the plane sharply deviated from its intended course before it went into a steep dive
The devices record information about the speed, altitude and direction of the plane as well as flight crew conversations, and help explain nearly 90 percent of all crashes, according to aviation experts.
The plane’s captain, Afwan, a 54-year-old father of three, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was a former air force pilot with decades of flying under his belt.
His nephew Ferza Mahardhika told BBC Indonesia that the pilot had left home quickly on the day of the flight, complaining that ‘his shirt hadn’t been ironed, when usually he is really neat’.
Afwan also apologised to his children for having to leave home to board the doomed flight.
He was described as a devout Muslim who was always keen to help people in his community of Bogor.
The plane’s captain, Afwan, a 54-year-old father of three, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was a former air force pilot with decades of flying under his belt
Ratih Windania posted a selfie with her three children laughing as they boarded a plane in Indonesia on Saturday in a heartbreaking final message
The family’s final message was sent just before they boarded the plane from the Indonesian capital after a three-week holiday
Ferza Mahardhika said: ‘He was a very good man. He often gave advice, wise advice. He was a prominent figure in his neighbourhood and was well-known for his kindness.’
An investigator with Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said the jet possibly broke apart when it hit waters based on debris found so far.
‘We don’t know for sure, but if we look at the debris, they’re scattered in an area that is not too wide,’ Nurcahyo Utomo said on Monday.
‘It possibly ruptured when it hit waters because if it had exploded midair, the debris would be distributed more widely,’ he added.
They were originally planning to take a different flight but they changed at the last minute
Irfansyah said his relatives (pictured at the airport) had originally been due to take an earlier flight operated by Sriwijaya’s unit NAM Air and he was unclear why that was changed
Aviation analysts said flight-tracking data showed the plane sharply deviated from its intended course before it went into a steep dive, with bad weather, pilot error and mechanical malfunction among the potential factors.
‘Something quite dramatic has happened after takeoff,’ said Stephen Wright, professor of aircraft systems at Finland’s Tampere University.
‘The airspeed is far too low. The aircraft didn’t accelerate up to the correct speeds for continuous flight.’
It comes as the heartbreaking final messages and posts have been revealed from passengers who shared photos on the plane before the crash.
Ratih Windania posted a selfie with her three children laughing as the family boarded the plane from the Indonesian capital.
Indonesian Navy sailors are seen on the KRI Semarang as it is docking and preparing to continue rescue process for Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182
A health worker sprays disinfectant at a large part of a plane recovered from the waters off Java Island where Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182 crashed on Saturday, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia
She said: ‘Bye bye family. We’re heading home for now.’
‘Pray for us,’ her brother Irfansyah Riyanto posted on Instagram with a picture of the family.
He said his family were originally planning to take a different flight but they changed at the last minute.
Like dozens of other desperate relatives, Irfansyah rushed to Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport late on Saturday. On Sunday, he was still hoping for good news about his sister and four other family members on the flight, including his parents.
‘We feel powerless, we can only wait and hope to have any information soon,’ Irfansyah told reporters.
His sister and her two children had been at the end of a three-week holiday and were taking the 460 mile trip home to Pontianak on the island of West Kalimantan.
‘I was the one who drove them to the airport, helped with the check-ins and the luggage … I feel like I still can’t believe this and it happened too fast,’ Irfansyah said.
Rescuers have discovered body parts and pieces of clothing during a desperate search for Sriwijaya Air Flight 182
Rapin Akbar, who gave a blood sample to the hospital to help police identify any bodies retrieved, had five relatives on board including an older sister, a nephew and his wife and their seven-month-old baby.
They were also flying back to Pontianak, the city on Indonesia’s section of Borneo island which had been flight SJ182’s destination, about 90 minutes away.
‘(My nephew) had planned to go back to Pontianak on Sunday but changed his mind and decided to fly on Saturday instead,’ the shocked Akbar told AFP.
‘He called me to say the flight was delayed and sent me a picture of their baby. It was (their) first.’
At the police hospital, the brother of co-pilot Diego Mamahit said he had been asked for a blood sample.
‘I believe my younger brother survived, these are just for the police procedure,’ Chris Mamahit said. ‘Diego is a good man, we still believe Diego survived.’
On his LinkedIn profile, Mahamit had written ‘I really love to fly.’
‘We the family still hope for good news,’ a family member of Afwan, a devout Muslim, told Detik.com.
Indonesian rescue members check a body bag as a huge team continues their search to find wreckage and passengers
Officials are seen inspecting one of the engines recovered from the crash of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ18
Rescuers are seen bringing up one of the engines. At 2.40pm – just four minutes after takeoff – the Boeing B737-500 plunged nearly 10,000ft in less than 60 seconds
Navy divers are seen retrieving wreckage from the aircraft. Police asked families to provide information to help identify any bodies retrieved such as dental records and DNA samples
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi on Sunday said authorities launched a widespread search for the Boeing 737-500 after narrowing down ‘the possible location of the crash site’
Also on board was Dinda Amelia, who had gone to Jakarta on holiday for her 15th birthday, seaman Angga Fernanda Afrion who became a father for the first time last week, and newly-married couple Ihsan Adhlan Hakim and Putri Wahyuni.
President Joko Widodo offered sympathy on Sunday.
‘We are making our best efforts to find and rescue the victims and we all pray that they can be found,’ he said.
Panca Widiya Nursanti, a middle-school teacher in Pontianak, had been returning after a vacation in her home town of Tegal in Central Java. In Pontianak, her husband Rafiq Yusuf Al Idrus recounted the last contact he had with her.
‘I was joking by saying that when she arrived in Pontianak we would eat satay together,’ he said.
‘She contacted me via Whatsapp at 2.05 p.m with laughter. She was already boarding the plane and she said the weather conditions were not good. I said pray a lot, please.’
The Boeing B737-500 plunged nearly 3,300 metres in less than 60 seconds to an altitude of just 75 metres. Pictured: debris discovered in the ocean
Navy divers pull out a part of an airplane out of the water during the search operation for the Sriwijaya Air passenger jet
A fisherman, named Solihin, told the BBC that he had been at sea when he witnessed the plane crash into the water near to his ship.
‘The plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water. It was pretty close to us, the shards of a kind of plywood almost hit my ship.
‘We thought it was a bomb or a tsunami since after that we saw the big splash from the water.
‘It was raining heavily and the weather was so bad… We were very shocked and directly saw the plane debris and the fuel around our boat.’
Locals on a nearby island said they heard two explosions before discovering metal pieces, cables and fragments of a pair of jeans floating in the sea.
A medical officer sprays disinfectant onto the washed up debris as rescuers desperately search for survivors
The National Search and Rescue Agency of Indonesia (BASARNAS) conduct a search and rescue operation
The missing plane is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX jet involved in two earlier fatal crashes – including the Indonesian Lion Air crash in 2018 which killed 189.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the doomed flight was delayed for an hour before it took off at 2.36pm.
But the aircraft disappeared from radar four minutes later, after the pilot contacted air traffic control to ascend to an altitude 8,839 meters.
Sriwijaya Air, which flies to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, has said little about the plane, which was previously flown by US-based Continental Airlines and United Airlines.
The Indonesian carrier has not recorded a fatal crash since it started operations in 2003.
A plane flies over Indonesian search and rescue teams scattered in several points as they look for debris
Police asked families to provide information to help identify any bodies retrieved such as dental records and DNA samples
These pieces were found by the SAR team between Lancang Island and Laki Island, National Search and Rescue Agency Bagus Puruhito said
Indonesian search and rescue officers inspect a bag with wreckage believed to be of the missing plane at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia
But the Southeast Asian nation’s fast-growing aviation sector has long been plagued by safety concerns, and its airlines were once banned from entering US and European airspace.
In October 2018, 189 people were killed when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX jet crashed near Jakarta.
That accident – and another in Ethiopia – saw Boeing hit with $2.5 billion in fines over claims it defrauded regulators overseeing the 737 MAX model, which was grounded worldwide following the accidents.
The 737 model that went down Saturday was first produced decades ago and was not a MAX variant.
In 2014, an AirAsia plane headed from Surabaya to Singapore crashed with the loss of 162 lives.
A year later more than 140 people, including scores on the ground, were killed when a military plane crashed shortly after take-off in Medan on Sumatra island.