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Jakarta Post

Flight SJ182: World offers condolences to heartbreaking Indonesian airplane tragedy

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 15, 2021   /   10:12 am
Flight SJ182: World offers condolences to heartbreaking Indonesian airplane tragedy A member of the Indonesian Red Cross sprays disinfectant on debris of Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182 at Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta on Wednesday. The Boeing 737-500 aircraft crashed into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff on Saturday. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

World leaders and dignitaries have extended heartfelt condolences to Indonesia and the families of victims of the tragic Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182, which crashed carrying 62 people on board on Saturday.

During his recent visit to Jakarta, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a press conference that his country stood with the people of Indonesia, describing the tragedy as an “unfortunate incident”.

“I wish to express our deepest condolences and sympathies once again to the families for losing their loved ones to the crash of the Indonesian passenger jet,” he said on Wednesday.

The Sunday prior to Wang Yi’s visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his condolences to Indonesia through President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, saying he was surprised and saddened by the deadly tragedy.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in also expressed his condolences to the victims, the families and the people of Indonesia over the devastating incident.

“We sincerely pray for smooth search and investigation efforts in the field. Korea will always stand with Indonesia,” he said in a letter to Jokowi on Wednesday, provided by the South Korean Embassy in Jakarta.

The South Korean government deployed a research vessel called ARA. Operated by the Korea-Indonesia Marine Technology Cooperation Research Center (MTCRC) in Cirebon, West Java, it is helping in the search for remains at the Boeing 737-500 airplane wreckage site.

The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), assisted by the Indonesian Navy and other agencies, is still knee-deep in operations to find the missing cockpit voice recorder of the aircraft and any traces of the victims.

As of Tuesday, divers have managed to retrieve the airplane’s flight data recorder – also known as the black box – which recorded information on the engine, control positions and other significant flight parameters before the plane crashed. Black box data can help explain 90 percent of all crashes, according to aviation experts.

Read also: Indonesian divers find crashed plane’s black box as investigation continues

Meanwhile, Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also offered their condolences through a letter sent to Jokowi on Monday.

“Singapore stands ready to offer any possible assistance,” President Halimah wrote, stating that she was deeply saddened to learn about the tragedy.

Russia’s Kremlin also expressed their sympathy, saying that “the President of Russia expressed heartfelt condolences over the death of passengers and crew of the plane, which crashed off the coast of Java”.

Russian lawmakers of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, also joined Putin in extending their condolences to Indonesia through a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani.

The President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, sent a letter of condolences to President Jokowi on Saturday.

The United States’ Acting Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, offered his condolences to Indonesia in a telephone conversation with Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto on Sunday.

While extending sympathy and support, Miller also expressed confidence in the Indonesian government’s ability to manage the situation.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in an official statement on Saturday that is shared the grief of the people of Indonesia.

“We wish the mercy of Allah upon those who lost their lives in the tragic accident and extend our heartfelt condolences to their bereaved loved ones.”

The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab, Malaysia’s top diplomat, Hishammuddin Hussein, and the Pakistani Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Zahid Hafeez Chaudri, are also among the many global figures who took to Twitter to mourn the deadly incident.

Carrying 50 passengers and 12 crew members from Jakarta to Pontianak in West Kalimantan, Sriwijaya flight SJ182 had climbed to about 11,000 feet before contact was lost.

Read also: Body parts found at Sriwijaya Air crash site

Aviation experts have tried to piece together an explanation, concluding that the plane had nosedived into waters off Jakarta’s coast only minutes after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation, but Sriwijaya Air CEO Jefferson Irwin Jauwena said the flight had been delayed for 30 minutes from its scheduled departure time due to heavy rain. He also defended the aircraft as being "airworthy" for commercial flights.