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Flight Took Off With 62 On Board. Then, a Blank Radar

Indonesia loses contact with Boeing 737 over Java Sea
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2021 6:30 AM CST
Flight Took Off With 62 On Board. Then, a Blank Radar
This radar image shows the flight path of Indonesian Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 before it dropped off the radar on Saturday.   (Flightradar24.com via AP)

(Newser) – A Boeing 737 with 56 passengers and six crew members fell off the radar Saturday just minutes after taking off from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Per the New York Times, the nation's Transportation Ministry says Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 disappeared over the Java Sea, with the last contact made with aviation authorities at 2:40pm local time. The plane, which had been headed for Pontianak on the island of Borneo, had taken off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in heavy rain, and just four minutes after it ascended into the sky, the Flightradar24 tracking service noted a drop of 10,000-plus feet in under a minute. Shortly after that, it fell off the radar, Bloomberg notes. Per the Antara news agency, the plane was about 11 nautical miles north of the airport, at an altitude of about 11,000 feet and climbing, when it vanished, CNN reports.

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Fishermen in the Thousand Islands regency spotted debris and an oil slick in the water, per local media, though it's not clear whether that's from the missing plane. The regent says a report was filed about a plane crash on the uninhabited island of Laki. The 26-year-old 737-500 plane is a much older model than the 737 Max that has brought much turmoil to Boeing. "Management is still communicating and investigating this matter and will immediately issue an official statement after obtaining the actual information," the airline says in a statement, per the Times. Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency has sent patrol boats to the section of the Java Sea near where the plane was last caught on radar, and local TV says first responders have also been dispatched in the hopes there are survivors. Boeing is also aware of what has happened and is keeping tabs on the situation, a rep says. (Read more missing plane stories.)

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