A Boeing 737-500 belonging to Sriwijaya Air, an Indonesia airline, has been declared missing, the nation’s transport ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
According to the flight tracker website FlightRadar24, the aircraft which descended more than 10,000 feet in less than a minute, lost contact with flight controllers shortly after it took off from Jakarta Airport.
“It lost more than 10,000 feet [3,000 meters] of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta,” Flightradar24 said on its Twitter handle.
Local newspapers reported that there were 59 passengers on board the plane to Pontianak.
Surachman, a local government official, told Kompas TV that fishermen found what appeared to be the wreckage of an aircraft in waters north of Jakarta and a search was underway. Other news channels showed images of suspected wreckage.
“We found some cables, a piece of jeans, and pieces of metal on the water,” Zulkifli, a security official, told CNNIndonesia.com.
“The missing plane is currently under investigation and under coordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee,” Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokeswoman, Adita Irawati, said.
Indonesia, world’s largest archipelago nation with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea, and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure, and poorly enforced safety standards.
Read also: Panic as plane-crash lands at Abuja airport
A Boeing 737 MAX operated by the Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed off Jakarta in late 2018, killing all 189 passengers and crew. The plane that lost contact on Saturday is a much older model.
Sriwijaya Air said that it was collecting more information regarding the flight before it could make any statement.