A search and rescue operation is under way in Indonesia after contact was lost with a Boeing 737-500 plane on a local flight.
An Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesman said the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182 was flying from from the capital Jakarta to Pontianak City in West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo. The last contact was at 2.40pm local time (7.40am in the UK), it said.
Tracking service Flightradar24 said on Twitter that the flight “lost more than 10,000ft (3,000m) of altitude in less than one minute” about four minutes after departure.
Suspected debris has been located in waters north of Jakarta, an official from the Basarnas rescue agency told the Reuters news agency, although it has not been confirmed that it is from the missing plane.
Some 56 passengers and six crew members were on board.
The airline said it was still gathering information on the incident.
“Sriwijaya Air is still in contact with various related parties to get more detailed information regarding the SJ-182 flight from Jakarta to Pontianak,” the company said in a statement.
“Management is still communicating and investigating this matter and will immediately issue an official statement after obtaining the actual information.”
Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said: “The missing plane is currently under investigation and under co-ordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee.”
A plane flying from Jakarta to Pontianak would spend most of the 90-minute flight over the Java Sea.
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people.
The missing plane is not a 737 Max, the Boeing model involved in two major crashes in 2018 and 2019.