Indonesia’s air safety record is again in the spotlight after a Sriwijaya Air plane carrying 62 people crashed into the Java Sea minutes after take-off from Jakarta on Saturday.
Data from FlightRadar24 shows the plane had reached an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet before dropping to 250 feet in a matter of seconds. The pilots did not declare an emergency before the plane’s sudden descent.
“There has been a lot of noise made about the speed of its final descent,” said Geoff Dell, an air accident investigation expert based in Australia. “It is indicative of what happened but why it happened is still in many ways a guess really. There are multiple ways you can get an aeroplane to go down at that pace.”
Over the last decade alone, excluding Saturday’s crash, there have been 697 fatalities in Indonesia including military and private planes, making it the deadliest aviation sector in the world.
From 2007 to 2016, the US aviation authorities lowered Indonesia’s safety evaluation to Category 2, banning carriers from operating in the US because they were “deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping or inspection procedures.”
The European Union had a similar ban from 2007 until 2018.
The Sriwijaya flight, operated by a Boeing 737-500, follows the loss of a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX in October 2018, which contributed to a global grounding of the model.