The Indonesian authorities confirmed on Saturday night that the commercial airliner with 56 passengers and 6 crew members on board which had lost the track in the early afternoon had an accident when it fell into the sea off the coast of Jakarta.
Bambang Suryohadi of the Indonesian search and rescue agency, Basarna, reported at an emergency press conference that the Sriwajaya airline's plane, a Boeing 737-524, crashed into the Java Sea a few minutes after taking off from Sukarno-Hatta International Airport in the Indonesian capital, bound for Pontianak, the capital of West Borneo.
Almost simultaneously, Indonesia's transport minister, Budi Karya Sumadi, also held a press conference explaining that contact with the aircraft was lost at 14.40 (local time, 6.40 GMT), some thirteen minutes after take-off.
At that time, the plane had changed direction abruptly, prompting the control tower to ask the pilots what was happening when it suddenly disappeared from the radar, according to the minister, who expressed his "regret" over the incident.
For his part, the spokesman for the search and rescue agency said that the plane's remains had already been found, and that the exact point of the collision was expected to be located this very night, after which a team would be sent to the site on Sunday.
There were 56 passengers on the plane, including three babies and seven other minors, and six crew members, according to the flight manifest to which Efe has had access, although it is not yet known whether there were any foreign nationals among them.
The police reported that they have set up a body identification post at a hospital in East Jakarta where the families and relatives of the victims will be treated, according to the local portal Detik.
Meanwhile, fishermen in the vicinity told local media that they had witnessed an explosion and found the possible remains of the plane crash floating in the sea.
In pictures shown by the local channel KompasTV, several fishermen who were fishing in the area of the possible accident showed cables and other equipment they had found in the vicinity of the crash site.
On 29 October 2018, a Boeing 737 Max 8 from Lion Air crashed into the waters of the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta after the pilots had difficulty with the plane's controls.