Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Lion Air Technical Director Removed Following Orders from Transport Ministry

Lion Air Technical Director Removed Following Orders from Transport Ministry

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.

The Boeing-737 MAX 8, which went into service just a few months ago, plunged into the Java Sea off Indonesia's northern coast on Monday, killing 189 people, just 12 minutes after taking off from the capital Jakarta en route to Pangkal Pinang city.

Search and rescue efforts are still underway to find possible survivors.

It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia in more than two decades and renewed concerns about safety in its fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and USA blacklists.

Chief of National Search and Rescue Agency Muhammad Syaugi shows a part of the black box of Lion Air's flight JT610 airplane, on Baruna Jaya ship, in the north sea of Karawang, Indonesia, November 1, 2018.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will also help out into the investigation of the downed plane.

The airline gave no reason for the personnel change but said in a news release it was made at "the instruction and the decision of the (Indonesian) Transportation Ministry".

"About three to eight minutes after it took off, I felt like the plane was losing power and unable to rise", Soetanto said, per the AP.

Investigators examine parts of Lion Air Flight 610 retrieved from the waters off Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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It was not clear whether it was the flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder.

As of the end of the day Wednesday, 56 body bags containing human remains had been sent to a Jakarta hospital for identification using DNA samples provided by family members, officials said.

"We have also intensified (on-site) checks on Lion Air, starting today", Budi said, referring to monitoring of the airline's airmen, operator and the company itself to ensure that they are conducting flights safely and in compliance with regulations.

Lion Air added that the Boeing 737 MAX 8 had a "technical issue" that was resolved before flight. Thirteen minutes into the flight, the plane stopped communicating with Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and crashed into the sea.

Boeing experts were due to arrive in Indonesia yesterday and Lion Air has said an "intense" internal investigation was under way in addition to the probe by safety regulators.

Rescuers search the sea for the sunken Lion Air passenger jet on Wednesday.

There is as yet no indication of what caused the crash, though there are reports the aircraft had experienced technical problems on earlier flights.

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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