Jakarta, Jan 10 (efe-epa).- Indonesian rescue teams have located the wreckage of the Sriwijaya airline commercial airliner that crashed into the sea on Saturday with 62 people on board a few minutes after taking off from Jakarta.
A signal from the aircraft’s blackbox was detected and the first human remains from the wreckage were retrieved on Sunday.
“Thank God and the prayers of the Indonesian people we have found the point where the SJ 182 fell and right now the soldiers of the Armed Forces, especially the Navy, are helping Basarnas (the Indonesian search and rescue agency) to recover the wreckage,” Bagus Puruhito, head of Basarnas, said at a press conference in Jakarta.
Throughout the day, rescue teams from several agencies delivered a total of five bags of human remains to authorities and three bags of debris from the plane, officials said.
The location of the crash site, which has not yet been made public but is presumably a few kilometers off the coast of Jakarta, was found after the blackbox signal was detected on Sunday morning, according to Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of the National Committee for Transport and Security (KNKT).
The plane, a Boeing 737-524 registered in 1994, crashed into the Java Sea after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in the Indonesian capital, bound for Pontianak, the capital of Western Borneo, as confirmed by Basarnas.
Authorities announced Saturday afternoon that contact with the aircraft had been lost at 2:40 pm, about 13 minutes after takeoff and without any warning from the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT).
At that time, the plane had changed direction abruptly, prompting the control tower to ask the pilots what was happening when it suddenly disappeared from the radar, Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi explained at a press conference on Saturday night.
At the moment, the causes of the accident, which killed all 50 passengers, including three babies and other seven minors, and twelve crew members, all of whom were Indonesian, are unknown.
Police have set up a body identification post at a hospital in eastern Jakarta where the families and loved ones of the victims will be treated and receive grief counseling, according to the local website Detik.