S’pore officials to help with jet crash probe

Painful goodbye: The mother of Isti Yudha Prastika, a flight attendant who was on board Flight SJ182, crying during her funeral in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta. — Reuters

Two investigators from the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau are helping with the probe into the Sriwijaya Air plane crash, said the Ministry of Transport.

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

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

The other, 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 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. — The Straits Times/ANN

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