Crashed Lion Air jet had airspeed indicator problems on its four flights


The doomed Lion Air flight that crashed into the sea, killing 189 passengers last month, was found to have a malfunctioning air speed indicator for its last four flights - and, crucially, at the time of the crash, according to the head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee.

Indonesian accident investigators said an airspeed indicator of a Boeing Co 737 MAX plane that crashed last week was damaged for its last four flights, but USA authorities responded cautiously to suggestions of fleet-wide checks.

Lion - always been dogged by safety problems - has said the Boeing 737-Max 8 suffered a technical issue on the flight just prior to its deadly crash Monday and that it was fixed.

His agency was asking Boeing and United States authorities what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world, he added.

"We will leave the investigation of the accident to KNKT", he said, referring to the Indonesian transportation safety committee. The NTSB, which conducts accident investigations and is assisting Indonesia in the probe, didn't respond to a request for comment.

Lion - long dogged by safety problems - has said the Boeing 737-Max 8 suffered a technical issue on the flight just prior to its deadly crash Monday and that it was fixed.

Utomo confirmed to CNN that there were two airspeed indicators in the cockpit.

But authorities will also question the pilots from the previous flight from Bali to Jakarta about the exact nature of the problems they encountered.

On Oct. 31, a Lion Air spokesman told Bloomberg that pilots had reported an issue calculating airspeed during that Oct. 28 flight. The audio device may be crucial to unraveling what happened during the flight's final moments.

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With the data recorder in the hands of investigators, the NTSC has recovered about 69 hours of flying data by the crashed jet during its last 19 trips.

Six black box experts from four different countries are now analyzing the flight data recorder to piece together the last moments of the 737 before it crashed.

Lion Air flight JT 610, carrying 189 people, crashed soon after taking off from Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. "This is what we do not know yet and we will find it out", he said. "We lost our child, but there was no empathy that Lion Air showed to us", he said.

Family members and friends have farewelled loved ones who died in the Lion Air plane crash in an emotional memorial service at the crash site in Indonesia.

Lion Air is one of the youngest airlines in Indonesia but has rapidly grown, expanding its flights in Southeast Asia.

Indonesian authorities on Sunday extended the search for another three days and a second black box recorder from wreckage of a brand new Boeing 737 MAX that slammed into the sea a week ago only minutes after it took off from Jakarta.

Mr Tjahjono said based on initial analysis the "engine was running with fairly high speed" when it hit the water.

On Monday, Indonesian authorities said the aircraft was flying at high speed when it crashed into the sea on October 29, causing an vast impact.