Officials consider role of speed readings in Lion Air crash

An official from Indonesia's transportation safety agency examines a turbine engine from the crashed Lion Air plane

An official from Indonesia's transportation safety agency examines a turbine engine from the crashed Lion Air plane

The pilots, who were dealing with an erroneous airspeed indication, had radioed a request to return to Jakarta to land, but never turned back toward the airport, according to Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee and flight-track data.

A Lion Air passenger plane that crashed last week with 189 people on board experienced airspeed indicator problems on its last four flights, Indonesian investigators announced on Monday.

The flight's erratic altitudes indicated a flaw in the airspeed measurement system, they said.

A spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The US manufacturer has delivered 219 737 MAX jets to customers globally, its website shows, with 4,564 orders for jets yet to be delivered.

Relatives questioned why the plane had been cleared to fly after suffering problems on its Bali to Jakarta flight on October 28 that included a rapid descent after take-off that terrified passengers.

On Oct. 31, a Lion Air spokesman told Bloomberg that pilots had reported an issue calculating airspeed during that Oct. 28 flight. "That happened several times during the flight", he said.

Meanwhile, the plane's other black box, the flight data recorder, was located Thursday, and investigators said it showed Flight 610 had performed 19 flights - including its final flight.

"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".

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and global destinations.

Indonesian officials are providing the strongest hints yet that a faulty airspeed indicator played a role in the deadly crash of a Lion Air jet into the Java Sea.

Divers have pulled the plane's flight data recorder from the water, but are still hunting for the cockpit voice recorder- a key device that could provide clues to what caused the nearly brand-new plane to plunge into the sea.

Victims' relatives are still waiting to receive the remains of loved ones. One of the more than 100 divers working at the crash site has died, CNN reported.

Flight JT610 sped up as it suddenly lost altitude and then vanished from radar 12 minutes after takeoff, with witnesses saying the single-aisle jet plunged into the water.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and global destinations.

Data transmitted from the plane and captured by flightradar24.com indicates that the plane continued flying at high speed away from the airport to which they meant to return, which Cox said seemed unusual.

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.

"The plane was intact when it plunged to the sea, it did not explode in the air, and the aircraft engine was running when it touched the water at high RPM it's marked by the loss of all blades of the turbine", he said.

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