An Indonesian Boeing 737 jetliner is believed to have crashed into the sea Saturday after air traffic control in Jakarta lost contact moments after takeoff, according to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee Head Suryanto Cahyono.

The aircraft, operated by Jakarta-based Sriwijaya Air, took off from Jakarta’s Soekarno–Hatta International Airport around 2:36 p.m. Western Indonesia Time (2:36 a.m. ET), after being delayed by roughly 56 minutes, according to FlightRadar24’s flight tracking data

The plane was a Boeing 737-500 model, much older than the 737 MAX aircraft grounded worldwide for about two years in 2019 following two deadly crashes, Bloomberg reported(RELATED: Senate Report Says Boeing Officials’ Inappropriately Coached’ 737 MAX Test Pilots, Reveals FAA Lapses)

It was raining at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at the time of take-off, according to Al Jazeera.

En route to Pontianak, on the island of Borneo, and set to arrive at 3:15 p.m. local time, the airliner climbed to approximately 10,000 feet as it crossed the West Javanese coast minutes after takeoff. Moments later, it steeply plunged to 8,125 feet and then to 125 feet before losing contact with air traffic control; it is feared to have crashed.

There were 62 people on the airplane, according to local media, as reported by Bloomberg.

Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Basarnas, has discovered some debris, according to Bloomberg. But Basarnas has yet to confirm if it belongs to the Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182, the organization’s deputy for operations, Bambang Suryo Aji, announced at a Saturday evening press briefing. 

As part of the investigation, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee will examine the debris, reported CNN.

Relatives of passengers on board missing Sriwijaya Air flight SJY182 wait for news at the Supadio airport in Pontianak on Indonesia’s Borneo island on January 9, 2021, after contact with the aircraft was lost shortly after take-off from Jakarta. (Photo by LOUIS ANDERSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Local media reports have also said that fishermen had spotted metal objects believed to be aircraft parts Saturday afternoon in the Thousand Islands chain north of Jakarta, the Associated Press AP reported.

“We found some cables, a piece of jeans, and pieces of metal on the water,” a local security official told CNN Indonesia.

Furthermore, the Indonesian Navy has ascertained the coordinates of the area where the 737 went missing. They have been sent to “all Navy vessels in the area,” Navy official Abdul Rasyid said, according to Singapore-based The Straits Times.

“We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation,” said Boeing spokeswoman Zoe Leong, according to Bloomberg. (RELATED: Boeing Knew About Warning Light Problem A Year Before Fatal Crash, But Kept Info To Itself)

Sriwijaya Air said that it was “in contact with various related parties to get more detailed information” about the incident, adding that they will “immediately issue an official statement” when more information was clear, CNN reported.

A Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea in 2018 just minutes after taking flight, killing everyone on board.

In Indonesia, a country with a poor air-safety record, according to further reporting from CNN,

Aviation incidents are not uncommon in Indonesia, a country with a poor air-safety record, according to reporting from CNN.

This is a developing story.

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