The Lion Air plane that crashed into Java Sea last month with 189 people on board was not airworthy and should have been grounded, said Indonesian investigators.
Preliminary findings revealed yesterday by Indonesia’s National Transport Safety Committee (KNKT) suggested that Lion Air put the plane – a new Boeing 737 Max 8 – back into service despite encountering problems on earlier flights.
Data from the jetliner showed that the pilots appeared to struggle with an automated system designed to keep the plane from stalling – a new feature in the 737 Max family.
The Boeing 737’s nose was repeatedly forced down over two dozen times during the 11-minute flight, even when the plane was not stalling – possibly due to a faulty sensor, the report stated.
It is, however, unclear why the pilots did not turn off the automated system.
The report, which did not give a definite cause for the deadly incident, also added that it was too early to conclude if the anti-stall system had contributed to the crash.
KNKT is continuing investigations, with a more detailed report expected to be completed within 12 months.
Boeing, in response to KNKT findings, said it is “deeply saddened” by the loss of Lion Air flight 610.
“As our customers and their passengers continue to fly the 737 MAX to hundreds of destinations around the world every day, they have our assurance that the 737 MAX is as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies,” Boeing said in a statement.
Meanwhile, KNKT has recommended that Lion Air improve its safety culture and should ensure the operations manual is followed “in order to improve the safety culture”.
It also urged the Indonesian carrier to ensure that “all operations documents are properly filled and documented”.