Boeing 737 passenger plane crashes minutes after take-off in Indonesia

A Boeing 737 passenger plane carrying 62 people crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from Indonesia's capital Jakarta.

It is reported that the plane, which crashed less than a minute into the air,possibly remained intact right until the moment it ruptured after crashing into the sea, the investigators of National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) have said.

A number of residents of an island near where the plane disappeared have reported that they believe they found objects they thought were from the plane.

The Indonesian navy was reportedly deployed to look for the aircraft on Saturday. Navy official Abdul Rasyid told Reuters news agency it had determined the plane's coordinates and ships had been deployed to the location.

The aircraft is not a 737 Max, the Boeing model that was grounded from March 2019 until last December following two deadly crashes.

One of the navy divers aboard a rescue ship said the search would resume on Monday with weather conditions improving.

“We can narrow the search area today to 200 to 500 metres from the point location,” he told Kompas TV channel.

“On the first day, we had been scouring 1-1.5km (from the main coordinates). We’ve looked through the outer areas now.”

The incident is the first major air crash in Indonesia since 189 passengers and crew were killed in 2018 when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX in 2018 also plunged into the Java Sea soon after take-off from Soekarno-Hatta international airport.

The Sriwijaya Air plane had 12 crew and 50 passengers on board, all Indonesians and including 10 children.

According to registration details, the plane is a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500.

It was in good condition, Sriwijaya Air chief executive Jefferson Irwin Jauwena told reporters. Take-off had been delayed for 30 minutes due to heavy rain, he said.

Sriwijaya Air, founded in 2003, is a local budget airline which flies to Indonesian and other South-East Asian destinations.

The pilots had decades of experience between them with the flight captain a former air force pilot and his co-pilot at Sriwijaya Air since 2013.

Meanwhile, the families of the passengers have shared heart-felt last-messages and stories of their loved ones. While some awaited the bodies of their family members, others kept their hopes up for good news.