Unfortunately Indonesia is no stranger to fatal aircraft accidents. And unfortunately, disaster struck again on Saturday 9 January 2021 when Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, a scheduled domestic passenger flight flying from Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta to Pontianak (West Kalimantan), crashed in the Java Sea some four minutes after take-off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
The crash site is about 20 kilometers away from Indonesia’s busiest airport. It is presumed that the 50 passengers and 12 crew-members (including six crew-members who were off duty) died in the crash. All were Indonesian nationals.
Just before the fatal crash, take off of Sriwijaya Air flight 182 was delayed for around 70 minutes because of bad weather at – and around – Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. However, when the plane finally took off, there (reportedly) were still some rain showers in the area as well as thunder and a cumulonimbus cloud. Still, weather conditions were not regarded ‘extreme’ during, and around, the time of the accident.
Shortly after take-off, when it was still in its climb phase, the aircraft started to show strange behavior, and failed to follow air traffic controller instructions. The strange behavior involved a sudden and sharp drop in speed and altitude as well as a sudden turn to the right. However, no distress call was made by the two pilots (which can happen in case of a sudden emergency that requires the full attention of both pilots).
Based on the debris pattern in the seawater, the airplane did not explode in the sky but ruptured when hitting the water. And, another preliminary conclusion drawn by investigators was that the engines were still functioning until hitting the water.
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