NORTH SUMATRA, Indonesia: Black boxes from Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182 plane that crashed into the sea soon after take-off in Indonesia on Saturday have been located by Navy divers, while families and friends of the passengers say they still have hope despite the plane’s flight recorders, which record cockpit voice and flight data being located.
Five members of Yudi Qurdani’s family were among the 62 people on board the plane – according to the flight’s manifest – which lost contact with air traffic control just four minutes after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.
Aircraft parts and human remains have been found.
The Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 was carrying 62 people when it vanished from radar on its journey to Borneo.
“We have located the position of the black boxes, both of them,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia’s transport safety committee, said on Sunday.
“Divers will start looking for them now and hopefully it won’t be long before we get them.”
The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, or black boxes as they are often called, store data about planes. They can provide vital information in air accident investigations.
Investigators are analysing items which they believe to be a wheel and part of the plane’s fuselage. A turbine from one of its engines is also among the debris that has been recovered.
The search operation has been suspended for the night but is due to resume on Monday morning.
However, there appears to be no hope of finding any survivors.
A spokesman for the Jakarta police, Yusri Yunus, said two bags had been received from the search and rescue agency.
“The first bag contained passengers’ properties, another bag contained body parts,” he told reporters, adding: “We are still identifying these findings.”
Police are asking families of the victims to provide DNA samples and dental records to help identify the remains.
The Sriwijaya Air passenger plane departed from Jakarta airport at 14:36 local time (07:36 GMT) on Saturday.
Minutes later, at 14:40, the last contact with the plane was recorded, with the call sign SJY182, according to the transport ministry.
The usual flight time to Pontianak, in West Kalimantan province in the west of the island of Borneo, is 90 minutes.
The aircraft did not send a distress signal, according to the head of national search and rescue agency Air Marshal Bagus Puruhito.
It is thought to have dropped more than 3,000m (10,000ft) in less than a minute, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.com.
Witnesses said they had seen and heard at least one explosion.
The family suspects that NAM Air, which is a subsidiary of Sriwijaya Air, transferred the passengers to the later flight due to low ticket sales.
The merged flights also meant that the Sriwijaya Air plane was carrying six extra crew from the cancelled NAM Air flight, including Captain Didik Gunardi, First Officer Fadly Satrianto and four cabin crew.
On Sunday, Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) released photographs of officials recovering debris and other items from the suspected crash site, including a child’s pink T-shirt, which Qurdani believes belonged to Yumna.
Also on the flight were Mulyadi P Tamsir and his wife Makrufatul Yeti.
The couple had just married last month and were on their way from Jakarta, where they lived, to Mulyadi’s hometown in Pontianak so that he could introduce his new wife to his extended family, said Alwi Hasbi Silalahi, the head of the Muslim Student’s Association (HMI), North Sumatra and Mulyadi’s former colleague and friend.
Mulyadi was the head of HMI Indonesia from 2016 to 2018 but had left to work for Hanura, one of Indonesia’s political parties, and Silalahi said the news of the downed plane had created an outpouring of grief throughout the HMI community.
“The last time I spoke to Mulyadi was about his wedding. Then the next thing I hear is that he was on the plane,” Silalahi said, adding that he was shocked when he heard that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control.