Crashed jet had broken airspeed indicator
JAKARTA/WASHINGTON Indonesian accident investigators said an airspeed indicator of a Boeing 737 MAX plane that crashed last week was damaged for its last four flights, but US authorities responded cautiously to suggestions of fleet-wide checks.
The damage on a Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea, killing all 189 aboard, was revealed after data had been downloaded from the plane’s flight data recorder, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) chief Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters on Monday.
His agency was asking Boeing and US authorities what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world, he added.
“We are formulating, with NTSB and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator,” he said, referring to the US National Transportation Safety Board.
The acting administrator of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Mr Dan Elwell, said the FAA and NTSB had teams of experts in Indonesia at the government’s request.
“Any action the FAA would take regarding that incident would have to wait until we have findings, until we have information,” Mr Elwell said in Washington.
Indonesia has not formally requested fleet-wide checks on 737 MAX jets and none are planned, a person familiar with matter said, on condition of anonymity.
Investigators have not disclosed any reports of other airspeed failures on the aircraft.
It was not immediately clear whether the problem with the crashed jet was from a mechanical or maintenance issue.
Safety experts say it is too early to determine the cause of the crash last Monday of the flight from Jakarta to the tinmining town of Pangkal Pinang.
Authorities have not recovered the cockpit voice recorder from the sea floor, north-east of Jakarta, where the plane crashed 13 minutes into its flight.
Boeing declined to 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.
The Lion Air crash was the first involving the type of plane, which airlines introduced into service last year. – REUTERS
Families and colleagues of passengers and crew of the crashed Lion Air jet throwing flowers and petals yesterday from the deck of an Indonesia Navy ship near the site of the crash, which happened last Monday.