Indonesian rescue members inspect what is believed to be the remains of the Sriwijaya Air plane flight SJ182, which crashed…
Indonesian rescue members inspect what is believed to be the remains of the Sriwijaya Air plane flight SJ182, which crashed into the sea, at Jakarta International Container Terminal port in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 10, 2021.

A preliminary report into last month’s deadly crash of an Indonesian jetliner reveals a malfunctioning cockpit throttle caused one of the engines to lose power before the plane plunged into the Java Sea.   

Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182 disappeared from radar just four minutes after taking off from Jakarta on January 9 en route to Pontianak, the capital of the West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo, carrying 62 passengers and crew, including 10 children.

According to the report issued Wednesday by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee in Jakarta, the left engine throttle on the Boeing 737-500 jetliner moved backward while the right lever remained in its original position while the plane was in autopilot, causing it to go into a sharp roll.   
 
When the plane reached an altitude of 3.3 kilometers (10,900 feet), it began a nosedive when the autopilot disengaged.  
 
Lead investigator Nurcayho Utomo told reporters pilots on previous flights had reported problems with the automatic throttle system on the 26-year-old jet before the January crash.   
 
The information compiled in the report was taken from the plane’s flight data recorder.  Divers are still searching for the cockpit voice recorder, which could give investigators  insight on the pilots’ actions in the moments before the crash.