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Indonesian passenger plane with 62 on board goes missing over Java Sea

A passenger plane carrying 56 passengers and six crew members lost contact shortly after taking off from Indonesia's capital Jakarta on Saturday.

The Sriwijaya Air flight went missing over the Java Sea while en route to Pontianak, the capital of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan. The plane "lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about four minutes after departure," tracking service Flightradar24 said on its Twitter feed. Indonesia's transport ministry said search and rescue efforts are underway.

The plane is reportedly a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500, which should not be confused with the 737 MAX model that was involved in two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019, respectively, before being grounded worldwide. Per BBC, airlines generally prefer to fly newer aircraft, but it's not uncommon for a plane that old to still be in service. The model reportedly has a strong safety record, though Indonesia's aviation safety record has been questioned over the years, BBC notes. Read more at The Associated Press and BBC.