Crash in Indonesia: an engine brought to the surface

Par ediallo - 11 January, 2021 - 10:03

One of the engines of the Boeing 737-500 of Sriwijaya Air, which crashed Saturday in the Java Sea with 62 people on board, was brought to the surface. The search resumed on Monday morning, in particular to try to recover the black boxes located yesterday.

The National Search and Rescue Agency BASARNAS broadcast on 11 January 2020 images of part of one of the CFM56-3B1 of the Indonesian company's plane that crashed into the sea on Saturday, shortly after take-off from Jakarta-Soekarno Hatta airport, while on flight SJ182 to Pontianak in the island of Borneo.

It is the largest piece of debris recovered from the crash site, about 23 metres deep. Other parts and human remains have been brought to the surface, and the resumption of the search this morning should focus on the recovery of the two flight recorders, the only ones capable of explaining the accident and which were located yesterday according to the authorities.

Flight SJ182, delayed by half an hour because of heavy rain, disappeared from radar screens on 9 January 2021 four minutes after taking off from Jakarta. On board were 56 Indonesian passengers including seven children, three babies and six airline crew members, as well as the two pilots and four cabin crew operating the flight.

Its rapid descent from 10,900 to 250 feet was apparently not accompanied by any distress call; some ground reports mention at least one explosion heard at the time of the accident. One of the investigators reported that the aircraft disintegrated on impact with the water, with the debris apparently spread over a relatively small area.

The 737-500, registered PK-CLC, entered service in May 1994 with Continental Airlines, before being reflagged to United Airlines in October 2010. It joined the Sriwijaya Air fleet in April 2012, and came off maintenance in October. The Indonesian carrier's fleet includes five other 737-500s, thirteen 737-800s and two 737-900ERs.

This crash in Indonesia follows that of Lion Air on 29 October 2018, which claimed 189 victims and triggered the start of the Boeing 737 MAX crisis, and that of AirAsia flight QZ8501 in 2015 (Airbus A320 missing at sea, 162 deaths). The worst accident in Indonesia's history remains that of Garuda Indonesia in September 1997, when its A300 crashed on a hill during its approach to Medan airport (234 deaths).

According to ASN, the 697 deaths recorded over the last decade (including military and private aircraft, but before the crash of flight SJ182) make the country the worst in the world in terms of air safety, ahead of Russia, Iran and Pakistan). Indonesian airlines had been placed on the European Union's blacklist until 2018.

François Duclos