Indonesian passenger jet missing after taking off from Jakarta

A search and rescue operation was launched after a passenger plane with more than 50 people on board lost contact shortly after taking off from the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Saturday, a transport ministry spokesman said.

Flight SJ182 went missing over the Java Sea minutes after it took off for Pontianak, the capital of Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province, Adita Irawati said.

Tracking service Flightradar24 Its Twitter feed said the plane “lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than a minute, about 4 minutes after it took off from Jakarta.”

The aircraft is a 27-year-old Boeing 737-500, according to registration data in the tracking data, Flightradar24 added.

According to the flight manifest, there were more than 50 passengers on board.

“On the route from Jakarta to Pontianak using the callsign SJY 182, contact with the Sriwijaya aircraft using the callsign SJY 182 was lost,” said Irawati, who added that the plane was last heard at 2:40 pm. Local time (2:40 a.m. ET).

Yusuf Latief, a spokesman for Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency, Basarnas, told NBC News that ships had been sent to the Thousand Islands, a chain north of the Jakarta coast, where the plane was believed to have lost contact.

Sriwijaya Air said in a statement that it “is still in contact with various related parties for more detailed information” and that “management is still communicating and investigating this matter”.

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It is the second crash off the coast of Indonesia in a little over two years. A Boeing 737 Max of the Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed off Jakarta in October 2018, killing all 189 passengers and crew members.

David Sidman, director of communications at Boeing, said in a statement that the company “is aware of media reports from Jakarta and is closely monitoring the situation.“”

“We are working to gather more information,” he said.

Boeing on Thursday agreed to pay $ 2.5 billion to settle a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, admitting employees misled regulators about the safety of its 737 Max aircraft that happened shortly after Joining the air service had suffered two fatal crashes.

This is breaking news. Please check again for updates.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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