A PASSENGER plane has crashed after “falling 10,000ft” moments after taking off with 62 people feared dead — including five kids and three babies.
Disturbing images have emerged of rescue workers holding mangled debris from the Boeing 737 which plunged into the Java Sea in Indonesia today.
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A rescue worker holds what appears to be debris from the plane which crashed this morning in IndonesiaCredit: Twitter
Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 fell 10,000ft in under 60 seconds – less than four minutes after taking off from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Flightradar24 reports.
One social media user responded to the site’s data, saying: “That’s freefall.”
Locals on Thousand Island – north of Jakarta – said they heard two explosions before finding debris floating in the sea.
Indonesia’s transport ministry says a search and rescue investigation has been launched after contact was lost with the jet which was en route to Pontianak on the island of Borneo.
A total of 56 passengers and six crew members were on the flight while reports say the jet was carrying seven children including three babies.
Pictures of the wreckage – most of which was found by fisherman – has been broadcast widely on Indonesian TV.
DEBRIS PULLED FROM SEA
Zulkifli, a security official, told CNN Indonesia: “We found some cables, a piece of jeans and pieces of metal on the water.”
The Sea and Coast Guard Unit (KPLP) said they found what appeared to be the jet’s emergency staircase, which is located at its door.
Officials confirmed the plane crashed between Lancang Island and Laki Island in the Thousand Islands area.
Authorities said the last contact was at 2.40pm local time (7.40am UK time) and reports say the aircraft dropped from 10,900ft to 7,650ft before it vanished.
A rescue agency said that no radio beacon has been detected.
The country’s navy has deployed 11 vessels to hunt for the wreckage underwater.
This comes just over two years after another Boeing 737 – Lion Air Flight 610 – crashed into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta killing 189 people.
Debris can be seen floating in the Java Sea today
The jet plunged into the ocean moments after takeoffCredit: @flightradar24/Twitter
All 62 people on board are feared deadCredit: Twitter
Rescue workers pull what they claim is debris from the seaCredit: Twitter
A file picture showing the Boeing 737 which reportedly crashed todayCredit: Alamy
In a statement, the budget airline said it was still gathering information.
A spokesperson said: “Sriwijaya Air is still in contact with various related parties to get more detailed information regarding the SJ-182 flight from Jakarta to Pontianak.
“Management is still communicating and investigating this matter and will immediately issue an official statement after obtaining the actual information.
Sriwijaya Air chief exec Jefferson Irwin Jauwena said the 26-year-old plane was in good condition before the crash and that it had been delayed 30 minutes before takeoff because of heavy rain.
The aircraft was first part of Continental Airlines in 1994 before joining Sriwijaya Air’s fleet in 2012.
Boeing has been rocked in the past with crashes involving their 737 Max planes – although that model was not involved in the Sriwijaya crash.
And in chilling echoes of today’s incident, the Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 2018 – 12 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing 189 people.
Family of Sriwijaya Air plane passengers arrive at the crisis center in Soekarno-Hatta International AirportCredit: EPA
Relatives of the passenger cry as wait to hear news on the plane crashCredit: AFP or licensors
A total of 62 people were on the flight when it crashedCredit: ANTARA FOTO
Almost five months later, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 – another 737 – went down after take off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The two crashes saw Boeing hit with $2.5billion in fines and the 737 Max model was grounded worldwide.
Meanwhile, today’s crash is a haunting reminder of flight MH370 which vanished in 2014 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
Around 39 minutes into its journey, the jet lost contact with Malaysia Airlines and crashed at an unknown location killing all 239 people on board.
Sriwijaya is one of Indonesia’s leading domestic airlines and carries more than one million passengers every month.
It’s main hub is Jakarta’s Soekarno airport.
A Boeing spokesperson said: “We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation.
“We are working to gather more information.”
Wreckage from the Lion Air Flight 610 crash which killed 189 people in 2018 Credit: Reuters
Marines load supplies and equipment on a ship for a search and rescue operation Credit: AFP or licensors