Indonesia Says Boeing Jet Broke Apart Upon Impact With Water

“I can only cry.”

Families waited for news in Indonesia on Sunday as search teams located the crash site of the Boeing #FlightSJ182 jet carrying 62 people.

Indonesian investigators said the crashed Boeing Co. jet carrying 62 people operated by Sriwijaya Air broke apart upon impact with water, which could rule out a mid-air breakup.

National Transportation Safety Committee Chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono shared his conclusion by text message, without elaborating. A search-and-rescue team has located the crash site where the plane went down just minutes after takeoff on Saturday, with authorities saying they expect to retrieve the aircraft’s black boxes as soon as Sunday evening.

Debris suspected to be from Flight SJ182 — a Boeing 737-500 model that’s much older than the 737 Max aircraft — has been found along with emergency signals transmitted by two devices, with the search team already locating both flight recorders, according to officials.

“We believe that it is the location of the crash,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said in a televised briefing. Items found 23 meters (75 feet) underwater include life vests and parts of the aircraft that bear its registration number, he said.

Confirmation that the plane had crashed came about 20 hours after it went missing following its departure from capital Jakarta, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for maximum effort to search for and rescue the victims.

While the cause hasn’t been determined, the accident has once again pushed the country’s aviation industry into crisis mode. Indonesia has had a spate of plane crashes in the past decade, including the Lion Air Flight 610 disaster that killed 189 people in 2018, the first of the two 737 Max crashes that led to a global grounding. In December 2014, an AirAsia Group Bhd. plane plunged into the Java Sea with 162 people on board.

Weather has been a contributing factor in several of the past crashes. On Saturday, heavy rain in Jakarta delayed the takeoff for the 90-minute SJ182 flight to Pontianak on the island of Borneo.

It finally took off at 2:36 p.m. local time, reaching 1,700 feet a minute later, when it was cleared by Jakarta air traffic controllers to ascend to 29,000 feet, according to Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi. Four minutes after takeoff, controllers noticed the aircraft was not on its assigned track. It radioed the crew, and within seconds, the aircraft disappeared from radar, he said.

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