The heartbreaking final messages of passengers on the doomed Indonesian plane which crashed into the sea with 62 people on board have been revealed, as rescuers have located two black boxes.
Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 took off from Soekarno-Hatta international airport for a 90-minute flight over the Java Sea between Jakarta and Pofntianak in West Kalimantan.
But at 2.40pm – just four minutes after takeoff – the Boeing B737-500 plunged nearly 10,000ft in less than 60 seconds, with witnesses claiming they heard two explosions.
Soerjanto Tjahjanto, head of Indonesia’s transport safety agency, said authorities have found the two black boxes in the sea and divers are now trying to retrieve them, along with body parts and plane wreckage.
It comes as the tragic final messages and posts have been revealed as they shared photos on the plane before the crash.
Ratih Windania posted a selfie with her three children laughing as the family boarded the plane.
She said: ‘Bye bye family. We’re heading home for now.’
Ratih Windania posted a selfie with her three children laughing as they boarded a plane in Indonesia on Saturday
The family’s final message was sent just before they boarded the plane from the Indonesian capital after a three-week holiday
They were originally planning to take a different flight but they changed at the last minute
Rescuers have discovered body parts and pieces of clothing during a desperate search for Sriwijaya Air Flight 182
Indonesian rescue members check a body bag as a huge team continues their search to find wreckage and passengers
The message was sent just before they boarded the plane from the Indonesian capital.
‘Pray for us,’ her brother Irfansyah Riyanto posted on Instagram with a picture of the family.
He said his family were originally planning to take a different flight but they changed at the last minute.
Like dozens of other desperate relatives, Irfansyah rushed to Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport late on Saturday. On Sunday, he was still hoping for good news about his sister and four other family members on the flight, including his parents.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi on Sunday said authorities launched a widespread search for the Boeing 737-500 after narrowing down ‘the possible location of the crash site’
The Boeing B737-500 plunged nearly 3,300 metres in less than 60 seconds to an altitude of just 75 metres. Pictured: debris discovered in the ocean
Navy divers pull out a part of an airplane out of the water during the search operation for the Sriwijaya Air passenger jet
‘We feel powerless, we can only wait and hope to have any information soon,’ Irfansyah told reporters.
Irfansyah said his relatives had originally been due to take an earlier flight operated by Sriwijaya’s unit NAM Air and he was unclear why that was changed.
His sister and her two children had been at the end of a three-week holiday and were taking the 740 km (460 mile) trip home to Pontianak on the island of West Kalimantan.
‘I was the one who drove them to the airport, helped with the check-ins and the luggage … I feel like I still can’t believe this and it happened too fast,’ Irfansyah said.
Irfansyah said his relatives (pictured at the airport) had originally been due to take an earlier flight operated by Sriwijaya’s unit NAM Air and he was unclear why that was changed
A medical officer sprays disinfectant onto the washed up debris as rescuers desperately search for survivors
The National Search and Rescue Agency of Indonesia (BASARNAS) conduct a search and rescue operation
Police asked families to provide information to help identify any bodies retrieved such as dental records and DNA samples.
At the police hospital, the brother of co-pilot Diego Mamahit said he had been asked for a blood sample.
‘I believe my younger brother survived, these are just for the police procedure,’ Chris Mamahit said. ‘Diego is a good man, we still believe Diego survived.’
On his LinkedIn profile, Mahamit had written ‘I really love to fly.’
A plane flies over Indonesian search and rescue teams scattered in several points as they look for debris
Underwater divers have found parts of the wreckage in the sea and have pulled up clothes and body parts
Police asked families to provide information to help identify any bodies retrieved such as dental records and DNA samples
He and pilot Afwan, who goes by only one name, had nearly two decades of commercial flying experience between them. Afwan had previously been an air force pilot.
‘We the family still hope for good news,’ a family member of Afwan, a devout Muslim, told Detik.com.
President Joko Widodo offered sympathy on Sunday.
‘We are making our best efforts to find and rescue the victims and we all pray that they can be found,’ he said.
Panca Widiya Nursanti, a middle-school teacher in Pontianak, had been returning after a vacation in her home town of Tegal in Central Java. In Pontianak, her husband Rafiq Yusuf Al Idrus recounted the last contact he had with her.
‘I was joking by saying that when she arrived in Pontianak we would eat satay together,’ he said.
‘She contacted me via Whatsapp at 2.05 p.m with laughter. She was already boarding the plane and she said the weather conditions were not good. I said pray a lot, please.’
These pieces were found by the SAR team between Lancang Island and Laki Island, National Search and Rescue Agency Bagus Puruhito said
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi on Sunday said authorities launched a widespread search for the Boeing 737-500 after narrowing down ‘the possible location of the crash site’.
‘These pieces were found by the SAR team between Lancang Island and Laki Island,’ National Search and Rescue Agency Bagus Puruhito said.
Personnel on the Rigel navy ship detected a signal from the fallen plane, in line with the coordinates from the last contact made by the pilots.
‘We have immediately deployed our divers from navy’s elite unit to determine the finding to evacuate the victims,’ Indonesian military chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said.
Captain EKo Surya Hadi, commander of a local life boat, told local television that human remains were found, saying: ‘We found body parts, life jackets, avtur (aviation turbine fuel) and debris of the plane.’
A fisherman, named Solihin, told the BBC that he had been at sea when he witnessed the plane crash into the water near to his ship.
‘The plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water. It was pretty close to us, the shards of a kind of plywood almost hit my ship.
‘We thought it was a bomb or a tsunami since after that we saw the big splash from the water.
‘It was raining heavily and the weather was so bad… We were very shocked and directly saw the plane debris and the fuel around our boat.’
Locals on a nearby island said they heard two explosions before discovering metal pieces, cables and fragments of a pair of jeans floating in the sea.
Fifty-six passengers – including seven kids and three babies, two pilots and four cabin crew were on board the 26-year-old plane.
Indonesian search and rescue officers inspect a bag with wreckage believed to be of the missing plane at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia
The plane – believed to be a Boeing B737-500 – is understood to have fallen 10,000 feet in less than 60 seconds just four minutes after it took off
The missing plane is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX jet involved in two earlier fatal crashes – including the Indonesian Lion Air crash in 2018 which killed 189.
Mr Sumadi said the doomed flight was delayed for an hour before it took off at 2.36pm.
But the aircraft disappeared from radar four minutes later, after the pilot contacted air traffic control to ascend to an altitude 8,839 meters.
A dozen vessels – including four warships – were deployed in a search and rescue operation centered between Lancang island and Laki island, part of the Thousand Islands chain just north of Jakarta.
‘Sriwijaya Air flight #SJ182 lost more than [3,000 metres] of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta,’ the tracking agency said on its official Twitter account.