INDONESIA – Searchers in Indonesia are continuing their efforts to recover the black boxes from Lion Air Flight JT610 as new details emerge of problems on its previous flight. The black box data could reveal the plane’s last moments before it plunged into the Java Sea on Monday.
All 189 people on board are presumed dead.
Passengers flying on the same plane the night before it crashed said it was like riding a “roller coaster” and that the engine made strange noise throughout their flight, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. That’s unusual because the plane, a practically brand new 737 Max 8, is one of Boeing’s most advanced jets.
Recovery crews in Indonesia found more bodies and debris Tuesday, but the cause of Monday’s crash is still unknown. Lion Air’s president admitted the aircraft, delivered in August, had a “technical issue” in its previous flight Sunday but insisted the problem was fixed.
In a video posted to Facebook purportedly by a passenger on Sunday’s flight from Bali to Jakarta, a fellow passenger appears to complain about being stuck on the tarmac while waiting for the repairs. With the doomed plane in the background, they ask for prayers to make it back to Jakarta safely.
This is the first accident involving a Boeing 737 Max jet, which airlines began flying only last year.
“This is the 21st Century aircraft,” said Mark Rosenker, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
“Is there a reason for concern when one of these brand new airplanes, that’s a brand new type of airplane, falls out of the sky?” Van Cleave asked him.
“If Boeing or the carriers in any way, shape or form felt that there was an issue, then the airplane would be grounded,” Rosenker said.
In June, we got an up-close look at a Boeing 737 Max, which is a state-of-the-art version of the popular 737.
More than 4,700 Boeing 737 Max jets have been ordered, and 219 are already in service around the world – including approximately 45 by U.S. airlines, who said they are monitoring the Indonesia crash investigation closely.
“You always have to look at any potential systemic issue, fleet issue,” Rosenker said. “We’ve not seen anything like this yet.”
Boeing said it is offering technical assistance to Indonesian crash investigators. Historically, 737s are some of the safest planes ever built. Ten-thousand have been delivered in the last 50 years, with only about 60 accidents around the world.