New details highlight Lion Air jet's problems before crash

Divers In Indonesia Find Crashed Airliner's 'Black Box'

The Lion Air plane that crashed into the Java Sea with 189 on board had technical problems minutes after takeoff the day before, with the pilot putting out an urgent call that is just one level below a Mayday call and requesting to return to the airport.

The disaster has reignited concerns about safety in Indonesia's fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and USA blacklists, and also raised doubts about the safety of Boeing's new generation 737 MAX 8 plane.

About 60 divers entered the sea on Tuesday from inflatable boats scattered over the slightly choppy waters, about 35 meters deep, a Reuters witness on a boat at the crash site said.

"The currents below the sea are still strong which makes it hard for divers, but they persistently faced it", he said.

Members of Indonesia's coast guard remove debris and belongings recovered from the waters near where a Lion Air passenger jet is suspected to have crashed, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta on Monday. Television images showed divers tying ropes to twisted plane parts scattered along the sea floor.

The search had been stopped for the night, said Bambang Suryo, an official of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, although sonar vessels and an underwater drone continued hunting for the wreckage, where many victims were feared trapped.

Search teams are also still looking for the plane's second block box recorder, after the first was located on Thursday.

"We strongly believe that we have found a part of the fuselage of JT-610", Hadi told TV One, adding that the search team had the location coordinates but now had to confirm that it was the plane.

A boat sails near the debris field from the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT610 in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province, on October 29, 2018. Officials hope that it will help explain what happened to the jet.




Recently, Indonesian authorities recovered what they think is a portion of the flight data recorder.

It was heading to Pangkal Pinang, just an hour away.

Authorities are sending recovered remains to hospital for DNA comparison to passengers' relatives.

KNKT had earlier said the plane encountered a problem during its previous flight, but Lion Air chief executive Edward Sirait claimed that the issue was already resolved and the plane was declared fit to fly.

The disaster has reignited concerns about safety in Indonesia's fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and US blacklists.

Founded in 1999, the budget carrier capitalised on a boom in Indonesia's aviation industry, but has been plagued by safety woes and complaints over unreliable scheduling and poor service.

Lion has been involved in a number of incidents, including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two of its planes at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

The worst disaster in Indonesia's aviation history left 234 dead in 1997 when an Airbus A-300B4 operated by national carrier Garuda Indonesia crashed in a smog-shrouded ravine in North Sumatra, just short of the airport.

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