Indonesia plane crash: Airspeed indicator of aircraft damaged in last four flights, says official

Source: Wikimedia/PK-REN/Flickr

The investigators of the Indonesian Lion Air flight that crashed last week said an airspeed indicator of the plane was damaged for its last four flights, Reuters reported. However, U.S. authorities cautiously responded to suggestions of fleet-wide checks.

The flight had crashed 13 minutes after takeoff, and had no survivors.

The pilot of the plane was an Indian who died in the crash, confirmed the Indian Embassy in Jakarta.

The damage of the flight 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 U.S. 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 U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

The acting administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 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,” Elwell said in Washington.

Fleet-wide checks on 737 MAX jets had not been requested formally by the Indonesian government and none are planned pending more data, Reuters reported. Moreover, investigators have not disclosed any reports of other airspeed failures on the aircraft.

“We don’t know yet where the problem lies, what repair has been done, what their reference books are, what components have been removed,” said Nurcahyo Utomo, the KNKT sub-committee head for air accidents. “These are the things we are trying to find out: what was the damage and how it was fixed.”

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