S'pore transport safety investigators in Jakarta to help with probe into Sriwijaya Air crash

Members of the US and Indonesian transport safety agencies inspecting the debris of Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182 in Jakarta on Jan 16, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - Two investigators from Singapore's Transport Safety Investigation Bureau are helping with the probe into the Sriwijaya Air plane crash, said the Ministry of Transport on Sunday (Jan 17).

They arrived in Jakarta on Wednesday, after Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee accepted Singapore's offer of help.

Flight SJ182 had plunged into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Jan 9, killing all 62 people aboard. Indonesian navy divers found the flight data recorder of the Boeing 737-500 several days later.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said one of the Singaporean investigators, Mr Alexander Leong, specialises in flight recorders and is working with Indonesian officials to look at recovered data.

The other, Mr David Lim, is a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer who is at the Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta to assist the team there as they look through recovered wreckage.

Said Mr Ong: "They have 18 years of air incident investigation experience between them. It is meticulous, complex work. Some data has already been recovered. We hope for more positive developments in the coming days."

Pontianak-bound Flight SJ182 had taken off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta international airport on Jan 9 at 2.36pm local time during heavy rain.

The Boeing 737-500 plunged into the Java sea four minutes later. It had 12 crew and 50 passengers on board, including 10 children. All were Indonesians.

Indonesian authorities conducting investigations have reportedly received information that local fishermen heard something explode in the Java Sea and subsequently saw debris floating in the ocean around the time the plane went missing.

An extensive search and rescue operation involving more than 3,000 people from multiple Indonesian agencies is currently under way.

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