Black box of crashed Lion Air plane recovered in Indonesia

Marsha Scott
November 4, 2018

Indonesian search and rescue workers believe they have found the fuselage of a Lion Air passenger jet that crashed with 189 people on board, and are also trying to confirm the origin of an underwater "ping" signal, officials said on Wednesday.

Indonesia ordered the suspension of more employees of Lion Air as it widened a probe into the crash of flight JT610 into the Java Sea early this week. A "pan pan" indicates an urgent situation and is one step below a Mayday.

Lion Air Flight 610 took off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for the mining region of Pangkal Pinang early Monday. While investigations are ongoing, there are a selfies clicked by the passengers just before their ill-fated flight that have emerged online.

The pilot pushed on with his flight and continued on with his journey from Bali to Jakarta, Herson said.

It will also focus on four Lion Air staff, including its technical director, who the transport ministry said it has suspended on Wednesday, amid speculation that the aircraft had not been airworthy.

Veteran pilot Byron Bailey said the flight data recorder was the more crucial piece of the puzzle. Weather conditions were normal but the aircraft had experienced a technical issue on its previous flight.

In April, the airline announced a firm order to buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets, with a list price of $6.24 billion.

Data from that flight suggested the plane may have flown erratically and a technical log circulating on social media pointed to different speed and altitude readings on the captain and first officer's instruments.

According to data from FlightRadar24, the jet displayed unusual variations in altitude and airspeed in the first several minutes of flight - including an 875-foot drop over 27 seconds when it would normally be ascending - before stabilizing and flying on to Jakarta.

The National Search and Rescue Agency may be close to finding the plane's main wreckage and the cockpit voice recorder, its chief M. Syaugi told reporters.

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A complete study to determine the cause of the crash based on the black boxes may take up to six months, according to KNKT, which has a one-year deadline to do so.

"Is there [a problem] that could affect other aircraft?"

"He requested to return to the airport" but "updated and flew to Jakarta", Herson said of the pilot.

The pilot and co-pilot had more than 11,000 hours flying time between them and had undergone recent medical checkups and drug testing, the carrier said.

Lion Air was among Indonesian airlines that were banned by the European Union from 2007 through 2016, according to the Aviation Safety Network database maintained by the Flight Safety Foundation.

Another passenger said the flight was turbulent and the seatbelt signs remain on throughout the flight.

"When the plane took off, it climbed and then went down".

One of them, Diah Mardani, told a current affairs television program earlier this week that after takeoff "the plane suddenly fell, then rose, then fell again harder and shook".

"All the passengers started shouting, 'God is Great, '" she said. "Now, we are searching at the right spot", he said adding that the agency plans to sweep a wider area from Saturday.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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