It is suspected that an Indonesian passenger aircraft carrying 62 people plunged into the sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.
The Pontianak, bound by Sriwijaya Air in West Kalimantan province, vanished from the radars four minutes into its trip, reports the BBC.
The aircraft was thought to have fallen more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) in less than a minute, according to Flightradar24.com, a flight-tracking website.
Witnesses testified to ‘at least one blast’ being heard and seen.
An eyewitness, Fisherman Solihin, told the BBC Indonesian Service that his captain wanted to return to land upon witnessing the accident.
He said, “The plane crashed into the ocean like lightning and exploded in the water.”
He added that they were pretty close to the collision, as fragments of a kind of plywood almost reached their boats.
The inhabitants of an island near the area where the plane disappeared told our source that “they found objects they thought were from the plane.”
Transport Ministry Replies
The Ministry of Transport said that search and rescue operations were underway.
Indonesia’s navy has been mobilized to hunt for the plane, according to the ministry.
Abdul Rasyid, a navy official, told Reuters news agency that the coordinates of the plane had been determined and ships had been deployed to the location.
Losing Contact With The Airplane
The last contact with the aircraft, with the call sign SJY182, was made at 14:40 local time, according to the transport ministry (07:40 GMT).
The usual flight time is 90 minutes to Pontianak, in the western part of the island of Borneo.
Air Marshal Bagus Puruhito, the head of the national search and rescue service, said that the plane did not send a distress signal.
While the aircraft has a capacity of 130, it was estimated that there were 50 passengers, including seven children and three infants, and 12 crew members on board.
Relatives of the passengers anxiously waited at the airport in Pontianak.
“Yaman Zai, who had his wife and three kids on the flight, said, “[My wife] sent me today a picture of the boy… How could my heart not be ripped to pieces? ”