Crashed Indonesian plane with 189 on board was trying to return to base: report
29 October 2018
The Indonesian Lion Air aircraft that crashed into the sea with 189 people on board on Monday was trying to circle back to the capital, Jakarta, from where it had taken off minutes earlier, officials said.
Lion Air flight JT610, an almost new Boeing 737 MAX 8, was en route to Pangkal Pinang, capital of the Bangka-Belitung tin mining region. The pilot had asked to return to base (RTB) after the plane took off from Jakarta. It lost contact with ground staff after 13 minutes, reports said.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, was a new model that was launched globally only last year and the plane that crashed had been in use for less than three months, sources said.
Lion Air’s chief executive Edward Sirait told reporters the plane had suffered “a technical issue” on Sunday night but engineers had cleared it to fly on Monday morning.
“This plane previously flew from Denpasar to Jakarta,” he said. “There was a report of a technical issue, which had been resolved according to procedure.”
Sirait did not elaborate on the specific issue, and said he had no plans to ground the rest of Lion Air’s Max 8 fleet. The airline operates 11 of the Boeing planes.
Rescue officials said they had recovered some human remains from the crash site, about 15 km off the coast.
Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, but its safety record is patchy. If all aboard have died, the crash will be the country’s second-worst air disaster since 1997, industry sources said.