Accessibility links

Indonesia Steps Up Search for Sunken Ferry Survivors


Emergency workers in Indonesia continue searching for the wreckage of an airliner that disappeared during a flight to Sulawesi Monday. Officials say earlier reports that the crash site had been found were erroneous. A total of 102 people were on board, and there are unconfirmed reports of 12 survivors. Rescue operations also continue for a passenger ferry that sank during bad weather early on Saturday morning. Chad Bouchard reports on the twin searches from Jakarta.

The government has retracted earlier reports that the wreckage of Adam Air flight 574 had been located.

Government officials also say they cannot confirm reports that 12 survivors had been found.

Those erroneous reports apparently had come from villagers in the remote area where the plane may have gone down.

The 17-year-old Boeing 737-400 was en route from Java to north Sulawesi when air traffic controllers lost contact around midday on Monday. A Singapore satellite picked up a distress signal about an hour after takeoff.

Search and Rescue Commander Idin Arifin says crews are searching for the crash site, but mountainous terrain is making communication difficult.

He says rescuers are not sure of the exact location but are looking for the wreckage in a crash area marked by thick jungle and steep terrain.

Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa told reporters at a news conference that bad weather caused the crash, and that an investigation is already underway.

He adds that although the pilot was aware of the bad weather conditions, it is the airport's responsibility to cancel flights in case of severe weather. Radjasa says air traffic controllers received clearance from Indonesia's weather bureau, but conditions had changed very quickly during the flight.

Adam Air is one of about a dozen budget airlines operating in Indonesia, flying mainly domestic routes.

Heavy rain and wind over the last week has also caused three shipwrecks, including a passenger ferry, which carried more than 600 people.

The Senopati Nusantara capsized before dawn on Saturday, and rough seas have hampered rescue attempts.

Emergency workers have pulled more than 200 survivors from the Java Sea, but hundreds more are still missing. Some 100 bodies have been recovered.

Air force helicopters are dropping food and water to stranded survivors who have been adrift for nearly four days.

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at a prayer meeting in Jakarta on Tuesday ordered rescuers to redouble their efforts.

XS
SM
MD
LG