An Indonesian airliner is missing and believed to have crashed shortly after take-off from Jakarta’s international airport on Saturday.
The Sriwijaya Boeing 737-500, with 56 passengers and six crew on board, was flying from Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo.
The plane lost contact shortly after take off and flight radar shows it climbing then disappearing.
Authorities say they have had no contact with the jet since 2.40pm local time.
“Sriwijaya Air, until now, are still trying to contact all related institutions to get more detailed information about the flight, SJ182, enroute Jakarta to Pontianak,” a statement from the airline said.
“Management are still communicating and investigating this and will release an official statement soon after we get the actual information.”
The flight, SJ182, took off from Soekarno Hatta airport at 2.14pm and was due to arrive in Pontianak at 3.50pm.
The 56 passengers on board include 46 adults, seven children and three infants. The crew included two pilots and four cabin crew.
Initial information was that the flight lost contact with air traffic control at 11 nautical miles north of Jakarta whilst passing 11,000 feet climbing to 13,000 feet.
Authorities believe it crashed into the sea in the vicinity of the Thousand Islands, just off the coast of Jakarta.
Flightradar 24 claims the flight lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about four minutes after leaving Jakarta, meaning it plunged from the sky.
Indonesian fishermen have reportedly told authorities they watched as the plane plunged into the ocean and they have been photographed holding what is believed to be wreckage from the ill-fated liner.
The plane’s tragic disappearance comes just over two years after an Indonesian Lion Air flight crashed into the sea soon after take-off from Jakarta airport.
The Lion Air flight was a Boeing 737 MAX 8 which crashed 13 minutes after take- off on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 passengers and crew.
Indonesia, a nation of 17,000 islands, has a chequered air safety history, with multiple budget airlines servicing the sprawling republic and a history of tragic air crashes.