Indonesia removes a Lion Air director, dismisses technicians over plane crash

Hugh Fox
November 4, 2018

Flight JT610, which was flown by a brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8, crashed into coastal waters just 13 minutes after it took off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for a one-hour flight to Pangkal Pingang.

Syauqi said that if the main body of the aircraft was found, more victim bodies as well as the black box would also be located.

The disaster has reignited concerns about safety in Indonesia's fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and US blacklists, and also raised doubts about the safety of Boeing's new generation 737 MAX 8 plane.

The Detik News website reported that the black box had been found near the aircraft fragments at the depth of 30 meters (98.4 miles) below the surface of the water off the Indonesian north coast, where the plane crashed on Monday.

"We can not say how long it takes to process data in a black box, but of course we will try as soon as possible".

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Special ships and remotely operated underwater vehicles had been deployed following Monday's crash to search for the plane's hull and flight recorders.

Lion Air, a budget airline based in Indonesia, has sacked its technical director, Muhammad Asif.

In 2013, one of its Boeing 737-800 jets missed the runway while landing on the resort island of Bali, crashing into the sea without causing any fatalities among the 108 people on board.

Distraught family members struggled to comprehend the sudden loss of loved ones in the crash of a plane with experienced pilots in fine weather.

Although it is now nearly certain that everyone on the plane died, relatives are desperate to find traces of their loved ones, with only debris and body parts found so far. "It was his last contact with me, his last message to me", said Inchy Ayorbaba, interviewed at the Jakarta police hospital where she had taken their three children for DNA tests.

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Lion Air said the plane had a "technical problem" on the previous flight, which was "resolved according to the procedure".

Shortly after JT610's takeoff early Monday morning, the flight crew asked to return to the airport, but minutes later, it suddenly lost altitude and crashed into the sea.

However, the committee is set to continue its evaluation, with assistance from Boeing, which is sending a team of experts, due to arrive in Indonesia soon, Budi said.

The country has had issues of safety and poor management in the past and its airlines were banned from flying into European airspace until 2016.

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