01/11/2021, 09.33
INDONESIA
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Plane crash black box traced. The pain of broken families

by Mathias Hariyadi

Army and navy divers, dredgers, cranes and balloons used to remove aircraft wreckage. Several bodies and body parts recovered but identification has to be carried out through DNA. There were 50 passengers on the plane - 43 adults and 7 children - along with 12 crew members. Entire families are among the victims. A 24-year-old was saved by chance: at the last moment he chose the ferry over the plane because he did not have enough money to pay for a Covid test.

 

 

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - In the early hours of this morning, Admiral Abdul Rasyid Kacong, commander-in-chief of the Navy, confirmed that the black box of the Sriwijaya Air SJ-182 plane that sank two days ago had been identified in the sea ​​off the island of Seribu.

The black box should be under wreckage of the plane destroyed on impact with the sea surface and the naval armed forces have prepared a team of divers, cranes and balloons to be able to move the wreckage and recover it.

Admiral Kacong also confirmed that several bodies or body parts of the victims were recovered, along with other parts of the plane.

The Indonesian police are working on identifying the remains and confirms the receipt of at least 40 DNA samples from the families of the passengers, all of whom are believed to be dead. Police spokesman, Gen. Rusdi Hartono said 14 DNA samples come from Jakarta, 24 from Pontianak, 1 from East Java and another from Sulawesi.

There were 50 passengers on the plane - 43 adults and 7 children - along with 12 crew members.

The jet, a Boeing 737-500, had departed from Jakarta for Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan, but at 2.40 pm, the control tower of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport lost contact. It is believed the plane has crashed around 2.16, quickly losing altitude.

Sriwijaya Air company claims the aircraft was in good condition despite its 27 years of operation. But the families of the victims claim the opposite and complain that the company changed planes at the last moment.

In fact, the passengers were originally supposed to fly on an aircraft of NAM Air, a subsidiary of Sriwijaya Air. But as often happens in this difficult period of air transport, for "technical reasons" (which means for a too small number of passengers rather than real technical reasons), the passengers were transferred to another flight, with the same route, but different time.

Tragic stories about the accident are piling up in the Indonesian media. Among them is the story of an entire family from Bangka Island all killed.  Risky Wahyudi, 26, along with his wife Indah Halimah Putri, also 26, and their one-month-old baby, Arcana Nadhif Wahyudi were all on board the flight as were Risky's mother and her cousin were also on the plane. All are now waiting to be identified among the bodies recovered.

Another family group destroyed is that of Ratih Windania, a pregnant woman, along with her 2-year-old daughter Yumna, 8-year-old grandson Athar Rizki Riawan. Uncle Tony Ismail and Aunt Rachmawati also flew with them.

Yaman Zai, a native of Nias Island (North Sumatra), has lost his wife and three children. He has been working in Pontianak for a year and on Saturday morning he was waiting to see his family again, at the airport. Now instead he is waiting to identify their bodies.

24-year-old Paulus Yulius Kollo, on the other hand, was lucky. Originally from East Nusa Tenggara, he was saved because at the last moment he decided to take a ferry and not the plane to get to Pontianak: he realized that he did not have enough money to pay for the compulsory Covid test. His name was still on the passenger list.

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