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Boeing passenger jet missing after departure from Jakarta

A Sriwijaya Air passenger jet is missing after taking off from Jakarta and losing contact with air traffic controllers on Saturday just minutes after departure.

The state of play: The last contact between the control tower and the plane, Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, was around 2:40 p.m. local time, Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawait said, per the AP. The Boeing 737-500 was en route to Pontianak on the island of Borneo. Multiple reports indicate there were 62 people on board including crew members.

  • Four minutes post take-off, the plane lost over 10,000 feet of altitude in under a minute, Flightradar24, a real-time flight-tracking service, said.
  • Authorities have started a search-and-rescue mission in coordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee.

What they're saying: "We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation. We are working to gather more information," Boeing said in a statement.

  • Axios has requested comment from Sriwijaya Air.

The big picture: The Boeing 737-500 is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which faced a global fleet-wide grounding for nearly two years following two fatal crashes.

  • In October 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 fell into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta with 189 people on board after the 737 MAX's antistall system malfunctioned.
  • Another Boeing 737 MAX crashed in Ethiopia in March 2019 after the antistall system was activated.

Flashback: Boeing agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges related to a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in connection with the agency's investigation into the Boeing 737 MAX, the Justice Department announced this Thursday.

  • The Department of Justice said Boeing misled the FAA and interrupted its ability to ensure the plane was safe.

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