Indonesia plane crash: Jet may have ‘ruptured’ on impact as divers look for black boxes

Indonesian Navy divers hold wreckage from Sriwijaya Air flight (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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Divers will attempt to retrieve data recorders from the doomed Indonesian flight that plunged into the sea with 62 passengers on board.

The Sriwijaya Air flight crashed minutes after take off from Jakarta's main airport, with authorities hoping today's Java sea dive will see cockpit black boxes covered.

Investigators are reportedly working on a theory that the aircraft ruptured on impact with the water.

SJ 182 was headed on a domestic flight to Pontianak on Borneo island, about 460 miles from the capital, on Saturday before it disappeared from radar screens four minutes after take-off.

Authorities pinpointed the area where the data recorders are located on Sunday as they lifted chunks of the Boeing 737-500 fuselage off the sea bed.

Police carry a piece of debris recovered
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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Rescuers have also found human body parts and passengers' personal effects.

One of the navy divers aboard a rescue ship said the search would resume on Monday with weather conditions improving.

"We can narrow the search area today to 200 to 500 metres from the point location," he told Kompas TV channel.

Ships and boats are pictured during a search for the Sriwijaya Air SJ-182
(Image: REUTERS)

"On the first day, we had been scouring 1.5 kilometres to 1 kilometres [from the main coordinates]. We've looked through the outer areas now."

Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator at Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), said authorities hoped to find the black boxes later today.

He said the jet may have been intact before it hit the water, given that debris found so far had been scattered in a relatively tight area underwater.

Indonesia Rescue team find part of the plane
(Image: Getty Images)

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

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

One of the jet's turbines was found and shipped back to a port in Jakarta on Sunday.

Indonesian Marine Leader Major General Suhartono (r) and others with debris
(Image: Bagus Indahono/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The incident is the first major air crash in Indonesia since 189 passengers and crew were killed in 2018 when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX in 2018 also plunged into the Java Sea soon after take-off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The Sriwijaya Air plane had 12 crew and 50 passengers on board, all Indonesians and including 10 children.

Tracking service Flightradar24 said the aircraft took off at 2.36 pm local time and climbed to reach 10,900 feet within four minutes.

Rescuers bring up one of the engines recovered from the crash site
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

It then began a steep descent and stopped transmitting data 21 seconds later.

There were no immediate clues on what caused the sudden descent.

Most air accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors that can take months to establish, safety experts say.

The pilots had decades of experience between them with the flight captain a former air force pilot and his co-pilot at Sriwijaya Air since 2013, according to his Linkedin profile.

The plane's takeoff had been delayed by heavy rain.

The Sriwijaya Air plane was a nearly 27-year-old Boeing 737-500, much older than Boeing's problem-plagued 737 MAX model.

Older 737 models are widely flown and do not have the stall-prevention system implicated in the MAX safety crisis.

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