Navy Locates Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182 Crash Site

By Spyros Georgilidakis | January 9, 2021

A Boeing 737-500 performing Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182 disappeared from radar approximately four minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia. Weather conditions at the time included rain, following several thunderstorms in the vicinity of Sriwijaya Air’s departure airport. Its destination was Pontianak airport. This would have been the aircraft’s 5th sector of the day.

Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 Missing After Take-Off
The accident aircraft, with the name “Citra” near the nose

The aircraft, registration PK-CLC, had 56 passengers and 6 crew members on board. Local media report that among the passengers are 7 children and 3 infants. 6 of the passengers were actually deadheading crew. Data from FlightRadar24 shows the Sriwijaya Air jet climbed up to 10,900 feet. Then it began a rapid descent, before disappearing. The aircraft was approximately 11km north from Sokarno International Airport in Jakarta. Time was 14:40 local (07:40Z). The aircraft did not respond to subsequent radio calls.

A search and rescue operation got underway soon afterwards. According to AvHerald, local residents could report hearing two explosions. Sailors in boats returned to the shore, with debris. There has been no confirmation if this is from the Sriwijaya Air flight. However, the debris includes what looks like a section of riveted aluminium skin.

Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 Missing After Take-Off
The airline has a mixed fleet of Boeing 737s, including -900ER models, and this -800.


Sriwijaya Air’s Grim Site

The above information comes from the captain of a ship, that was approximately 6nm from what they describe as ‘the impact site’. They observed an object fall into the sea, partially obstructed due to rain. Reaching the site, the ship’s crew found jackets, cables, and human remains. They returned to the shore, but a second boat is reportedly still at the scene.

Some of the first debris locals brought to shore. Picture from AvHerald.

The aircraft is a nearly 27 year-old Boeing 737-500, predating the MAX and even the previous ‘New Generation’ (NG). It had two owners before Sriwijaya Air. Continental Air Lines got delivery of it in May 1994. They upgraded it with winglets in 2008. United Airlines started operating the plane in 2010, but only briefly. It finally got to Sriwijaya Air in 2012, where it got its current registration, and also the name ‘Citra’.


Updated Information

Official sources now say that a search and rescue operation is underway. Units of the Basarnas (Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency) are already at the scene. ELT transmitters on the Sriwijaya Air 737 did not transmit during or after the incident. The Ministry subsequently confirmed the aircraft has crashed.

In the incident, while the aircraft was climbing through 1,700 feet, departure cleared the crew to FL290. Shortly afterwards, departure control noticed that Sriwijaya Air had stopped its right turn, to its assigned heading of 075°. The controller radioed the crew about their heading, but did not receive a reply. The aircraft then disappeared from radar.

Weather, approximately 10 minutes after the crash. Picture from AvHerald.

Sriwijaya Air has now released the following statement:

We confirm that flight SJ-182 from Jakarta to Pontianak lost contact today, January 9th 2021, at 14:40 local time. Our aircraft is manned by 6 active crew. The details of the passengers on flight SJ-182 are 40 adults, 7 children and 3 infants, plus 6 of our crew as passengers. Our prayers go out to all our passengers and crew, and their families. For now, we continue to coordinate with the relevant authorities and provide all the necessary support. For family and relatives, please call the following hotline number:

Sriwijaya Air: 021-8063 7816 and 021-8063 7817

Indonesia’s KNKT (National Transportation Safety Commission) have now opened an official investigation into the Sriwijaya Air crash. They will begin their search for the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder in the morning (Sunday the 10th of January). The sea is only 15 to 16 metres deep at the crash site.

Boeing released the following statement, after the Sriwijaya Air incident:

We are aware of media reports from Jakarta regarding Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182. Our thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand ready to support them during this difficult time.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Transport will provide more information when it becomes available. We will be continuously updating this article as the events unfold. We have also opened up a discussion forum in the FREE Mentour Aviation app. There you can find up-to-date information, or post what you can find on the Sriwijaya Air incident. You can get the app here.



New Development In Sriwijaya Air Crash

Indonesia Boeing 737 passenger plane crash site found Navy says


Indonesian authorities say they have found the location where they believe a Boeing 737 passenger plane crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from the country’s capital Jakarta on Saturday.

More than ten vessels and navy divers have been deployed to the crash site.

Indonesian investigators inspect an item they believe could belong to the missing plane. picture AFP

After earlier reports that rescue crews have identified strong signals from the two ‘black boxes’, their location has now been identified. A special research vessel is arriving to help retrieve them. Authorities hope to have them today.The depth of the wreckage may be a bit more than originally reported, at 20-23 meters.

Search and rescue crews continue to retrieve more human remains. There are no signs of survivors.

On Monday the 11th, Basarnas (Search & Rescue) report that they are still working on the recovery of the black boxes. However, their primary focus at the moment is the recovery of human remains.


  • Vedran Brnjetic

    @Doug Harvey

    So to summarize about the aircraft age, it is more an insight to experienced readers as to what kind of potential, well-known problems the crew might have encountered and to narrow down the search for the cause of accident.

    Newer aircraft have more unknown variables despite more modern material science and technology buffs.

    Since there are many generations of 737, and even more considering various degrees of modernization, it also helps to see if the crash can be linked to other problems with recent 737 in modern history or can these theories be dismissed. The mention of this fact is mostly to have a more complete picture of everything that may have contributed to this unfortunate outcome.

  • @Doug Harvey
    To answer your question about the age of the airplane from what i can tell you the age of the aircraft is not necesary the primary cause for these incident because an older aircraft requiers more maintenance at a regular base for the aircraft to be able to keep flying in safety condition and for that aircraft to be airworthy.
    We are talking about an aircraft wich is been used worldwide by diferent companies in the world and beeing an older aircraft the defects that this type of aircraft have during it’s normal operation are allready beeing well studied and have all the knowledge to keep the aircraft airworthy
    For the spare parts for these aircraft type being used worldwide you are still able to find them new or refurbished and tested.
    So the age of the aircraft that is not a big wory or the principle cause for the aircraft to fail in these way at these moment there are not so many information about the weather and the crew PILOT and FIRST OFFICER how many filght hours did they have on these type of aircraft.

  • “poor airline performance” that’s all !..

  • Looking at the debris photo, we can deduce that this is recent debris as there is no sea life attached to the materials. It usually takes about a week for marine animals to get established. We can see the (Esrocte – Highwaist Boyfriend Jeans for Women – Yes what are we seeing the inside of someone’s pants that might have been in the luggage compartment) was shredded.

    The brown markings might be burn marks or a brown oily liquid. The tan-colored material that looks like tape could be just dead or near dead seaweed. The photo is so grainy it’s hard to tell. The aircraft’s skin you can see the rivets that are still intact and some missing. From the drop shadow, we can tell the skin is curved inward which could mean we are looking at the external part of the aircraft’s skin. . The photo is a bit too grainy to determine which is important as the paint chips can tell you much. It appears there was an extreme level of positive air pressure inside the aircraft.

    Where the debris lays, is from a wooden fishing boat. I know wooden boats very well and it’s common to see paint chips along the seams of the boards cause by the wood flexing as the boat moves through the water. So we can ignore the boat displaying the recovered materials. While nothing in the debris can tell us exactly what happened, we can see this is recently recovered debris and the materials were greatly distressed.

  • Nikita Andrejev

    Aircraft age justof rises theto cost of flying and operating the AC. Novadays crashes caused by tecnical issue happen very rare

  • A

    If it is maintained properly, the aircraft’s age shouldn’t be an issue, other than being a bit less efficient. Older planes may require more frequent maintenance, though. This plane seems to have received a few updates before leaving service in the US, like the winglets. And it lost its eyebrow windows, too.

    The age of aircraft says more about the airline than about the aircraft itself. But even that is debatable.

  • I have a – what might seem like – dumb question. I used to fly United from BUR to SFO every day for work on a 25 year old Boeing plane without issue. I’ve noticed that everyone keeps saying “it’s a 27 year old plane.” My question is “does that really have any significance in this incident? and, are parts for repair still available?”

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