SAR operations for Sriwijaya Air plane stepped up

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JAKARTA: The Indonesian authorities today stepped up their Search and Rescue (SAR) operations to find the Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed in the waters of Kepulauan Seribu (the Thousand Islands chain) yesterday.

A joint statement by Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), national police (Polri), National Armed Forces (TNI) and other related agencies, said the SAR operations started since 6 am (local time) to find the wreckage of the plane in the waters of the chain of islands.

“Data on the number of personnel involved in the SAR operations as of this morning is 326 personnel, 38 ships, two helicopters and two aircraft which are provided by Basarnas, TNI, Polri, the Transport Ministry, the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency and others.

“The ships are equipped with equipment like the Multibeam Echosounder and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to detect and find wreckage, and divers have also been enlisted,” said the statement.

The Boeing 737-500 jet lost contact with ground controllers after taking off at 2.36 pm Western Indonesian Time from Jakarta en route  to Pontianak, Kalimantan before crashing in the waters of the Thousand Islands chain.

Indonesian Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi yesterday had said there were 62 people on board including 12 crew.

The Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta had issued a statement yesterday saying that the embassy had been informed that no Malaysian citizens were on board. – Bernama

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