Indonesian plane crash

This item appears on page 5 of the March 2021 issue.

A Sriwijaya Air flight to Borneo crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia, on Jan. 9, killing all 50 passengers and 12 crew. No distress calls were issued by the pilot or copilot before the plane disappeared from radar.

At press time, investigators suspected that the crash was caused by an issue with the autothrottle, which had been reported to be malfunctioning days before the crash. The plane’s black boxes were recovered and investigations were ongoing at press time.

The flight was on a Boeing 737-500, not a 737 Max, the design of the latter having been blamed for two fatal crashes, causing that model to be grounded in March 2019. Boeing 737 Max planes were recertified in the US only as of December 2020.