Indonesian aviation authorities say they have found the location of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from a crashed Indonesian jet on Sunday, items crucial to understanding what happened to the aircraft that went down with 62 people on board.
Indonesian divers also located parts of the wreckage of a Boeing 737-500 in the Java Sea as rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the waters where the Siriwijaya Air flight SJ182 carrying 62 people crashed.
“We have located the position of the black boxes, both of them,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia’s transport safety agency.
“Divers will start looking for them now and hopefully soon we can lift them up for the National Transportation Safety Committee to investigate and find out the cause of the crash.”
Divers recovered parts of the plane about 23 metres (75 feet) below the water’s surface, the transport ministry said in a statement, citing Indonesia’s military chief.
Indonesian Armed Forces chief Hadi Tjahjanto said the objects recovered included broken pieces of fuselage with aircraft registration parts.
“We are sure that is the point where the plane crashed,” he said in the statement, expressing hope that weather conditions and “the view under the sea are still good so that we can continue the search” on Sunday.
Indonesia’s chequered air safety record is again in the spotlight after the plane went down.
Before the crash, there had been 697 fatalities in Indonesia over the last decade including military and private planes, making it the deadliest aviation market in the world – ahead of Russia, Iran and Pakistan – according to Aviation Safety Network’s database.
The break in the search for Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 came after sonar equipment on a navy ship detected a signal from the aircraft at a location that fit the coordinates from the last contact made by the pilots before the plane went missing on Saturday.
The plane headed to Pontianak in West Kalimantan crashed shortly after takeoff from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
It is still unclear what caused the crash.
“I represent the government and all Indonesians in expressing my deep condolences for this tragedy,” President Joko Widodo said, adding, “We are doing our best to save the victims. We pray together so that the victims can be found.”
The nearly 27-year-old aircraft was much older than Boeing’s problem-plagued 737 MAX model, one of which crashed off Jakarta in late 2018, killing all 189 people on board the Lion Air flight.
United Airlines to begin US-Nigeria flights on Nov 29
United Airlines says it will begin flight operations from the Virginia, United States, to Lagos, Nigeria on November 29.
The announcement came via the verified Twitter account of the US Mission in Nigeria on Saturday.
According to the tweet, the airline operation will commence on November 29.
It stated that the “nonstop flights” will fly from Dulles international airport, Virginia, to Lagos, adding that the “tickets will be available for booking in a few days.”
“Awesome! A welcome addition to increasing the burgeoning connections between the US and Nigeria!” the tweet read.
“We are pleased to see that United Airlines will launch from Dulles International Airport to Lagos starting November 29. Tickets will be available for booking in a few days,” it stated.
The United Airlines stated that it would operate flights on Monday, Thursday and Saturday every week.
The tweet stated that the flight — Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays — would be undertaken on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
“Make room for one more, Dulles Airport! Our nonstop to Lagos, Nigeria, is now for sale,” it stated.
“The first flight takes off November 29, with service on a 787-8 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.”
NiMET predicts three-day heavy rains from today, flight disruption
The Nigeria Meteorological Agency has alerted to flight disruption in coming days, predicting heavy rains in parts of the country, mostly in the North, from Tuesday to Thursday.
Newstrends reports that domestic flights going out of Lagos to other parts of the country on Friday were delayed for many hours as a result of persistent downpour.
NiMET, in its weather forecast numbered 202109023 released on Monday, said heavy rains would be experienced in parts of Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and Niger states.
It also said moderate rainfall would be witnessed in parts of Yobe, Kwara, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Lagos, Edo, Delta, Taraba, Adamawa, Ekiti, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Abia, Imo, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states from Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
According to NiMET, light rains are expected over the rest of the country.
It however said due to the presence of good amount of soil-moisture and the expected heavy rainfall, there are increased chances of flashflood events on roads, settlements, farmlands and bridges.
This is in addition to chances of reduced horizontal visibility which can disrupt vehicular traffic and flight operations.
“Hence, the public is advised to exercise restraint, avoid low-lying areas and fast flowing runoff waters,” the forecast said.
NiMET also predicted the possibility of moderate rainfall events leading to slippery roads, reducing travel time, with increased likelihood of cars skidding off the road and chances of crashes.
It stated, “Strong winds are expected to accompany the moderate to heavy rains which can lead to falling of unsecured objects, weak buildings and exposed structures.
“Hence, the public is advised to be prepared for these events to avoid damages from rain-related hazard and watch out for updates. Elsewhere (See places in Green), no hydrometeorological hazards are anticipated.”
Nigeria’s $500m Tucano jets, largest purchase in sub-Saharan Africa – US
Nigeria’s purchase of 12 new A-29 Super Tucano jets at a sum of $500 million is the largest single arms procurement in sub-Saharan Africa, the United States Department of Defense has said.
Gen. Jeff Harrigian, the US Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, disclosed this on Tuesday at the A-29 Super Tucano induction ceremony, hosted by Nigerian Minister of Defense Bashir Salihi Magashi and the Nigerian Air Force in Abuja.
“The Nigerian Air Force is one of our key partners that play a critical role in furthering regional security and stability,” Harrigian was quoted as saying in a statement by the US Embassy in Abuja.
“This ceremony symbolizes the strength of our unique partnership and underscores the value of training and working together,” he said.
The Super Tucanos were the impetus for the significant deepening of training and professional relationships, he added.
The statement said, “Precision targeting, air-to-ground integration, and human rights training are all included in the partnership between the U.S. and Nigeria.
“The aircraft will assist the Nigerian Air Force in their fight against violent extremist organizations including the Islamic State West Africa Province.
“The joint structure of air-to-ground integration also supports Nigerian Army and Navy operations.
“Nigeria purchased the A-29s through the Foreign Military Sales programme, which follows the Department of Defense’s “Total Package Approach” model and includes spare parts for several years of operation, contract logistics support, munitions, and a multi-year construction project to improve Kainji Air Base infrastructure.
“The total sale is valued at almost $500 million, making it the largest FMS program in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Harrigian said the A-29 is a prime tool to help Nigeria combat violent extremism and is vital to sustained deterrence.
“The total package deal—aircrew and maintainer training, precision-guided weapon delivery, and more—highlights our enduring partnership with the Nigerian Air Force and our commitment to enabling their successes where we can.”
A total of 64 pilots and maintainers from the Nigerian Air Force were trained to U.S. standards with the U.S. Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Base in Georgia, USA.
The training also emphasized the Law of Armed Conflict and civilian casualty mitigation, which are fundamental principles of the Nigerian military’s professional education and training.
As part of the programme, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is providing $36.1M in infrastructure support to the A-29s’ home base, Kainji Air Base, including covered magazines and aircraft sunshades, a new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, airfield lights, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar, and entry control point enhancements.
The infrastructure package also includes a flight annex wing building for simulator training as well as munitions assembly and storage and small arms storage.
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