Indonesia has granted a travel waiver for investigators heading to the site of the tragic crash of a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 at the weekend. The waiver will allow the investigators to travel to the country despite current restrictions on inbound travelers prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around the world, many travelers are still being impacted by travel restrictions. For some, this means having to give up a beach vacation. However, some very pressing issues still require essential travel. Investigating major air disasters comes in the second category, as it is in everybody’s interests that the root cause is identified as soon as possible.
US investigators get the green light
According to Bloomberg, investigators from the United States have been given the green light to travel to Indonesia to assist in the investigation of flight SJ182. The publication reported that members of Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had been granted permission to travel despite Indonesia’s COVID travel ban. The publication’s source asked to remain anonymous.
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Indonesia is currently restricting the entry of foreign visitors. According to the ASEAN Briefing, this policy is currently in force until January 14th. Travelers are then required to quarantine for five days upon their arrival. In the interest of investigating the accident, the travel waiver may also cover such a quarantine period.
So what happened?
On Saturday, a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 departed from Jakarta on a domestic flight bound for Pontianak. The aircraft departed almost an hour late at 14:36 and climbed to around 11,000 feet. However, just four minutes into the flight, it rapidly lost height before crashing into the sea.
Flight data from FlightRadar24.com suggests that the aircraft’s speed dropped significantly at the start of the descent before increasing rapidly as the descent continued. While it can seem easy to jump to conclusions about what may have happened, it is ultimately up to the investigators traveling to Indonesia to work out what happened.
62 people are known to have been onboard the flight at the time of the incident, 56 passengers, four cabin crew members, and two pilots. Sadly nobody survived the tragic incident. On Sunday, the aircraft’s flight data recorders were recovered from the scene. These will help investigators to build a picture of the moments leading up to the crash. First responders are continuing the recovery effort.
In a statement issued on Saturday, a Boeing spokesperson commented,
“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.”
The Simple Flying team extends our condolences to all of those affected by this tragedy.