Timeline on Confusion over Plane

– The Boeing 737-400 takes off at 12:59pm on Monday from Surabaya airport, bound for Manado in Sulawesi, 1,500 kilometers away.

– About halfway through its flight, the Boeing 737-400 sends out distress signals. Officials say they lost contact with the plane, which disappeared off radar screens in the vicinity of Sulawesi.

– Early on Tuesday, Air Commodore Eddy Suyanto, commander of the Hassanuddin Air Force Base in Makassar on Sulawesi, announces the wreckage has been located in a remote, jungle-covered mountain near Polewali, on the western side of Sulawesi. He cites an aerial photograph showing the plane was destroyed and gives a death toll of 90, saying local residents reported 12 survivors.

– A military plane surveys the supposed crash site and surrounding areas. It detects a signal from the missing plane north of Polewali, says the Kompas newspaper, which had reporters on board. The plane flies low but can find no crash site in the mountainous terrain, which has many hidden cliffs.

– The wreckage was discovered on a mountain side at a height of 8,000 feet), national transportation safety commission chief Setio Rahardjo says in Jakarta, according to local media. He says it was supposed to be flying at 32,000 feet.

– Adam Air public relations official Gugi tells Antara 12 people survived while the other 90 were believed to have been killed.

– “The plane has been completely destroyed after it crashed into the dense jungle,” says Muslimin, the head of a search and rescue team in Polewali. “I was informed via radio by the local community that 90 people had died and 12 had survived, but we do not know the details yet of who survived.” He says the wreckage was discovered at a height of about 1,150 to 1,650 feet.

– Search and rescue teams are sent on foot and motorbike to check on the reported location several hours trek from Polewali. Muslimin says a helicopter search failed to find the crash site or any victims.

– At 6:50pm, Adam Air officials hold a press conference to clarify that information they had received about the 90 dead and 12 survivors was from the local community and not from the search and rescue team.

– Almost immediately, the regional military commander, Major General Arif Budi Sampurno, says no wreckage had been found at the reported location. “News from the village head reporting 12 survivors was also not true; the village head said that he never made that report,” Sampurno says.

– Suyanto and Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa apologize for relaying the false information.

– National Search and Rescue Board head Bambang Karnoyudho gives his take on what happened. “Well, the village head had told the local police chief, who had then relayed the message to the police chief in Makassar. He then told the national Search and Rescue Board spokesman Suyanto, who told the press,” he says. “However when these people got to the site, there was no plane wreck.”

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