Sriwijaya Air crash places Indonesia’s aviation safety under fresh spotlight
The Indonesian Navy has been trying to retrieve the data recorders of a Sriwijaya Air jet on Monday after it plunged into the sea on Saturday with 62 people on board, minutes after takeoff from Jakarta’s main airport.
There appears to be no hope of finding any survivors. Everyone on board was Indonesian, officials say. “We have located the position of the black boxes, both of them”, Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of Indonesia’s transport safety committee, said on Sunday.
Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, is highly dependent on air travel. Before the crash, there had been 697 fatalities in Indonesia over the last decade including military and private planes, making it the deadliest aviation market in the world.
The crash of the Sriwijaya flight, operated by a Boeing Co 737-500, follows the loss of a Lion Air 737 MAX in 2018, which contributed to a global grounding of the model. The Lion Air crash, which killed 189 people, was an outlier in that it mainly revealed fundamental issues with the plane model and triggered a worldwide safety crisis for Boeing.
Sriwijaya’s chief executive said on Saturday the plane that crashed was in good condition. The airline in late 2019 ended a year-long partnership with national carrier Garuda Indonesia and had been operating independently.