Chilling sight from underwater wreckage

 

A child's Marvel backpack is among the haunting items found by Indonesian divers scouring the wreckage of a passenger plane that plunged into the Java Sea on Saturday.

Chilling vision has emerged from the underwater crash site of the Sriwijaya Air plane that was carrying 62 passengers and crew when it crashed moments after takeoff from Jakarta.

The Indonesian navy footage shows the twisted wreckage of the Boeing 737 and mangled personal belongings on the sea floor.

A team of around 2600 personnel are involved in the huge recovery effort that also involves the grim task of recovering and identifying bodies.

Indonesian navy divers search the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182, near Jakarta. Picture: Indonesian navy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Indonesian Navy's search operation of the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air's plane continue under water
Indonesian Navy's search operation of the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air's plane continue under water

Investigators will identify remains by matching them with DNA provided by parents and other relatives of those on board.

There are not expected to be any survivors and investigators still have no clue what caused the plane to crash, with the flight deck not having reported an emergency or technical difficulties to air traffic control.

Divers have detected the plane's black boxes within 150 to 200 metres of the crash site but efforts to recover them have been hampered by debris in the water.

"We have two spots that (are) highly suspected as a location of two black boxes. But unfortunately there is a lot of debris around that spots," Indonesia navy Commander Admiral Yudo Margono said on Monday, CNN reported.

Investigators don't expect to find any survivors. Picture: Indonesian navy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A member of the search and rescue team carries a piece of wreckage. Picture: Adek Berry/AFP

The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder will hopefully provide answers as to why the plane lasted only moments in the sky before it plunged 10,000 feet towards the Java Sea.

Investigators already suspect the Boeing 737 was intact until it hit the surface of the water and broke apart.

"We don't know for sure, but if we look at the debris, they're scattered in an area that is not too wide," National Transportation Safety Committee investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said.

"It possibly ruptured when it hit waters because if it had exploded midair, the debris would be distributed more widely."

Ten children were among the 62 passengers and crew on Saturday's half-full domestic flight to Pontianak, on the Indonesian section of Borneo, just 90 minutes from Jakarta.

It crashed about four minutes after takeoff.

But a recording of conversations between the cockpit and air traffic control reveals the crew didn't declare an emergency or report technical problems before the sudden crash.

"It's like a normal conversation and nothing suspicious," Mr Utomo told AFP. "There's no talk of an emergency or something like that."

Aviation analysts say flight tracking data shows flight SJ182 sharply deviating off course before going into a deep dive.

They say bad weather, pilot error and mechanical malfunction could be behind the reasons for the crash of the 26-year-old plane.

"Something quite dramatic has happened after takeoff," Stephen Wright, professor of aircraft systems at Finland's Tampere University, told AFP.

A piece of one of the engines of Sriwijaya flight SJ182. Picture: Ed Wray/Getty Images Source:Getty Images
A piece of one of the engines of Sriwijaya flight SJ182. Picture: Ed Wray/Getty Images Source:Getty Images

"The airspeed is far too low. The aircraft didn't accelerate up to the correct speeds for continuous flight."

The 54-year-old captain, Afwan - who goes by one name - was a former air force pilot with decades of flying under his belt, according to local media.

Family and colleagues described the father-of-three from West Java as a devout Muslim who was eager to help people.

"He was a very good man," his nephew Ferza Mahardhika told BBC Indonesia.

"He often gave advice, wise advice. He was a prominent figure in his neighbourhood and was well-known for his kindness.

"I'm devastated and can't believe that this is happening. Please pray for uncle and our family."

The nephew said Afwan left home quickly to get to work to pilot the doomed flight, apologising to his children for having to leave them and not even having time to iron his shirt, "when he is usually really neat".

The plane that crashed was previously flown by United Airlines and US-based Continental Airlines before being sold to Sriwijaya Air, AFP reported.

The airline, which services destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, has not recorded a fatal crash in its 18-year history.

But Indonesia's fast-growing aviation industry has a poor safety record as is considered the deadliest aviation market in the world.

There have been 697 crash-related fatalities in Indonesia in the past decade and its airlines have previously been banned from entering US and European airspace.

The last major crash in Indonesia was in October 2018, when a Boeing 737 MAX operated by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board and triggering the worldwide grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft.

The Sriwijaya Air plane that crashed on Saturday was not an 737 MAX model.

 

Originally published as Chilling sight from underwater wreckage



Man filmed sex, threatened to publish on social media

Premium Content Man filmed sex, threatened to publish on social media

A man who threatened to distribute footage of himself having sex with a former...

Rookwood Weir project reaches significant milestone

Premium Content Rookwood Weir project reaches significant milestone

The $367.2 million project will deliver 200 jobs during construction and provide an...

Cancer victim’s bank account drained by scammers

Premium Content Cancer victim’s bank account drained by scammers

“I am in an extremely bad way. This money taken out of my bank account has left me...