Indonesia jet crash: Tearful relatives of victims demand answers

Airspeed indicator was damaged for the last four flights of the plane: Indonesian official

Published: November 05, 2018 17:00:20 | Updated: November 06, 2018 18:41:35

A man, who had family on the crashed Lion Air flight JT610, crying at a news conference about the recovery process at a hotel in Jakarta of Indonesia on Monday. -Reuters Photo

Relatives of the victims of recent Indonesia jet crash have demanded answers as to why the plane was passed fit to fly and called for no let up in the search for loved ones.

They raised the questions at a news conference on Monday to Indonesian officials including transport minister Budi Karya Sumadi and the head of the country’s transportation safety committee (KNKT), reports Reuters.

Last week, the aircraft crashed into the sea only minutes after it took off from Jakarta, killing all 189 on board.

Indonesian authorities on Sunday extended by three days the search for victims and a second black box recorder from wreckage of the aircraft, nearly new Boeing Co. (BA.N) 737 MAX.

“We are the victims here. Imagine if you were in our position,” said Najib Fuquoni, a relative of a victim, demanding an independent investigation into the crash.

Muhammad Bambang Sukandar, the father of another victim, said Lion Air technicians needed to take “full responsibility” if it was proved they had not properly attended to technical issues following the jet’s previous flight from Bali to Jakarta.

“This is not an unimportant thing. These are people’s lives,” he said, as he sought to choke back tears.

“Don’t let something like this keep happening in Indonesia,” he added.

Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, but its safety record has been patchy. Its transport safety panel investigated 137 serious aviation incidents from 2012 to 2017.

At one stage during Monday’s news conference, relatives urged Lion Air founder Rusdi Kirana, who was in the audience, to stand up. He stood up, but did not comment and clasped his hands together as if seeking forgiveness.

According to another report,  the KNKT authorities said on Monday the airspeed indicator was damaged for the last four flights of the plane.

The damage was revealed after data were downloaded from the plane’s flight data recorder, KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters.

The official informed that it was asking Boeing and US authorities what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world.

“We are formulating, with NTSB (US National Transportation safety board) and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator,” he said.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The US manufacturer has delivered 219 737 MAX jets to customers globally.

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