Lion Air crash: Indonesia to inspect Boeing 737-Max 8 planes

  • Published
Media caption,

Debris found from Lion Air crash in sea

Indonesia has ordered inspections on all the country's commercial Boeing 737-Max 8 planes, after one crashed into the sea with 189 people on board.

The Lion Air jet went down shortly after take-off near the capital, Jakarta, on Monday. There are no known survivors.

Searchers have recovered debris, bodies and personal items. They are looking for the fuselage and flight recorders.

Boeing launched its 737-Max 8 model last year.

The plane that crashed went into service just a few months ago.

On Tuesday Indonesia's transport ministry said all Max 8 aircraft belonging to Indonesian commercial airlines would be inspected, but it stopped short of grounding them.

Meanwhile Lion Air, the country's largest low-cost airline, said it would meet a Boeing team on Wednesday.

"We have many questions for them. This was a new plane," Lion Air director Daniel Putut told reporters.

Boeing has said it stands "ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation".

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Baby shoes are among some of the debris that has been found

Indonesia, a vast archipelago, is heavily reliant on air travel but many of its airlines have a poor safety record.

Lion Air was banned from flying into European airspace until 2016.

Why did the plane crash?

We do not know yet.

Flight JT610 was heading for the western city of Pangkal Pinang when it went down 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta.

Officials say the pilot had asked to return to Soekarno-Hatta airport before losing contact with air traffic control.

A log obtained by the BBC showed the plane had experienced technical problems while flying from Bali to Jakarta the previous day.

The log showed one instrument was giving "unreliable" airspeed readings and the captain had to hand over to the first officer. Altitude readings also differed on the captain and first officer's instruments.

Lion Air chief executive Edward Sirait said on Tuesday that the plane had been repaired before being allowed to fly again.

'Her face fills my mind'

By Rebecca Henschke, BBC News, Jakarta

Another day of waiting for the families and loved ones of those on board.

Now they sit outside Jakarta's police hospital, where bodies are being brought.

Lion Air is providing free flights from Bangka for the families of those onboard, like Surya's.

"They have all come hoping for some closure and certainty," she says. Her younger sister was on the plane. "We want a body to grieve. She was the youngest in our family, so we all loved her very much. It feels very painful to lose the baby of the family."

Outside the hospital I meet Murtado Kurinawan, whose newly-wed wife was on the plane, travelling for work.

He has brought her toothbrush in the hope it will help with the identification process. "I can't stop thinking about her. Her face fills my mind all the time," he said.

How is the search unfolding?

The plane plunged in waters that are about 30m (100ft) deep just north-east of Jakarta. Investigators say they are hopeful of finding the main fuselage.

Teams are using an underwater drone, as well as underwater "pinger locators" to try to pick up the sonar signals from the cockpit recorders.

Several bags of body parts recovered from the sea are being taken to Jakarta for identification.

Search official Yusuf Latif said it would be "a miracle" if survivors were found.