Indonesian Authorities Search for Answers Following Fatal Jet Crash

Wreckage from Sriwijaya flight

The black boxes of an Indonesian passenger jet that crashed into the sea over the weekend have been located, according to reports, as authorities recover wreckage of the shattered plane.

The Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500, which was carrying 62 passengers and crew on board, vanished from radar about four minutes after taking off in heavy rain from the capital of Jakarta on Saturday, plunging thousands of feet in seconds, Reuters reported.

Rescuers have begun to recover pieces of the plane, including its altimeter radar, emergency chute, and something suspected to have come off of the bottom of the plane's tail, Reuters reported, citing an Indonesia National Transport Safety Committee official. Body parts and clothing have also been pulled from the water and passengers' family members have been asked to provide DNA samples as well as dental records to help identify remains.

While it was not clear what caused the plane to plummet so quickly after takeoff, it does appear the jet broke apart when it hit the sea and likely not in mid-air, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee Chairman told Bloomberg

The plane that crashed had been flown earlier during the same day, the airline's president director told the AP. The Boeing 737-500 was nearly 27 years old, and several generations older than the 737 Max that crashed in Indonesia in 2018, setting off a nearly two-year global grounding of the jets.

The crash shines a spotlight on Indonesia's spotty aviation record, one of the worst in Asia, The Associated Press noted. In the past, crashes have been attributed to everything from inadequate maintenance of aircraft and poor pilot training to air traffic control issues.

In 2016, however, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration granted Indonesia a Category 1 rating, which means the agency determined the country complied with International Civil Aviation Organization safety standards, the AP reported.

Before Saturday's crash, Sriwijaya Air had experienced only minor incidents with one fatality in 2008 when a plane ran off the runway during landing, killing one.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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