Lion Air victims' families visit crash site

Howard TerryNov 07, 2018

Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, said on Monday that the flight data recorder from the crashed plane shows that the problem occurred in its last four flights, including the fatal flight on October 29.

Divers have recovered the flight data recorder of the Boeing Max 8 that crashed in Indonesia last week, and investigators say it shows the airplane had indicated inaccurate airspeed readings for three days before the crash, The New York Times has reported.

The latest information released by investigators still doesn't answer why the pilots on three previous flights were able to handle the problem while the crew on October 29 ended up diving at high speed into the sea, said John Cox, president of consulting company Safety Operating Systems and a former airline pilot.

The damage was revealed after data had been downloaded from the plane's flight data recorder, KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters, adding that it was asking Boeing and United States authorities what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world.

"We are formulating, with NTSB and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator", he said, referring to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. It was not immediately clear whether the problem with the crashed jet stemmed from a mechanical or maintenance issue, and USA authorities responded cautiously to suggestions of fleet-wide checks.

That safety record has been under the microscope since a new Boeing 737 Max 8 plunged into the Java Sea just 12 minutes after taking off from Jakarta last Monday.

Airspeed indicators have been around for decades to tell pilots how fast they are flying.

On that flight the aircraft had erratic speed and altitude changes for about 10 seconds before the 737 stabilised.

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. "In the black box there were four flights that experienced problems with the airspeed indicator".

"They need to find that cockpit voice recorder", Waldock said, "because that is going to tell us what the crew did in response to whatever situation they had".

While search teams scouring the waters managed to bring up the flight data recorder, a separate recorder that captures cockpit conversations and background noise is still buried in the seabed where the plane plunged.

Lion Air president director Edward Sirait said the carrier hadn't yet received any bulletins from Boeing. Divers located the plane's fuselage on Saturday, with one volunteer dying while working to recover human remains. Tears flowed as flowers were thrown into the water in remembrance of the 189 lives lost on board Lion Air flight JT-610.

Families of victims of Lion Air flight JT610 attend a meeting with authorities and Lion Air management on Monday in Jakarta, Indonesia. The advice from the Federal Aviation Authority would be binding on all USA carriers flying Boeing 737 Max 8 versions.

Tjahjono said Flight 610 was intact with its engines running when it slammed into the sea 13 minutes after takeoff.

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