Over the weekend Indonesia suffered a painful loss as Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 lost contact just four minutes after takeoff with 62 passengers on board.
It is now understood that at soon after taking off, the flight lost 10,000ft in less than a minute, plunging into the sea. Witnesses nearby claimed to have heard two explosions in the area, presumed to be the sound of the plane making impact.
Now, final messages of passengers have been revealed online, littered with feelings of hope, happiness and farewells made all the more haunting as there was no way they could have known what was to come.
Ratih Windania posted an image to social media of herself and her children just prior to takeoff stating: ‘Bye bye family. We're heading home for now.’ Her brother, Irfansyah Riyanto who saw the family off, also posted a photo with the family captioned: ‘Pray for us’.
Riyanto revealed that his family were originally meant to take a different flight but they had changed their minds at the last minute.
Riyanto along with many others made the journey back to Jakarta's Soekarno Hatta airport on Saturday after news that the plane had lost contact. By Sunday he was still hopeful that his sister, her children and his parents, could still be alive. He told reporters:
I was the one who drove them to the airport, helped with the check-ins and the luggage ... I feel like I still can't believe this and it happened too fast.
Pontianak middle-school teacher, Panca Widiya Nursanti had also been on the plane, set to return home after a holiday in her home town of Tegal. The teacher’s husband had revealed that just prior to boarding, the two had joked about what they would be having for dinner:
I was joking by saying that when she arrived in Pontianak we would eat satay together.
The husband then continued to reveal that Panca had already had her fears about the flight due to poor weather conditions:
She contacted me via Whatsapp at 2.05 p.m with laughter. She was already boarding the plane and she said the weather conditions were not good. I said pray a lot, please.
Black boxes, bodies and debris have now been found
The Boeing 737-500 was understood to have lost contact on Saturday at 2:40, just four minutes after taking off. The flight has also already been delayed by an hour due to terrible weather conditions. Tracking agency, Flight Radar 24 released on its official Twitter account:
Sriwijaya Air flight #SJ182 lost more than [3,000 metres] of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta.
Following the plane crash, a dozen vessels were deployed in a tireless search and rescue mission. Now, Indonesia's transport safety agency has announced that two black boxes from the plane have been discovered, along with debris and the bodies of lost passengers.
Local fisherman, Solihin even spoke to the BBC stating that he witnessed the plane crash, with debris almost hitting his boat:
The plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water. It was pretty close to us, the shards of a kind of plywood almost hit my ship. We thought it was a bomb or a tsunami since after that we saw the big splash from the water.