The flight data recorder from a crashed Lion Air jet shows it had an airspeed indicator problem on its last four flights, investigators say, after distraught relatives of victims confronted the airline’s co-founder at a meeting organized by officials.
The revelation came after data was downloaded from the plane’s flight data recorder (an orange device known as a black box), KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters. The agency was asking Boeing and U.S. authorities what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world, he said.
“We are formulating, with NTSB and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator,” he said, referring to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
It was not immediately clear whether the reported problem stemmed from a mechanical or maintenance issue, nor whether U.S. authorities would order any checks.
“We don’t know yet where the problem lies, what repair has been done, what their reference books are, what components have been removed,” said Nurcahyo Utomo, the KNKT subcommittee head for air accidents.
“These are the things we are trying to find out: what was the damage and how it was fixed.”
Safety experts say it is too early to determine the cause of the Oct. 29 crash .
Authorities have yet to recover the jet’s cockpit voice recorder from the sea floor, just northeast of Jakarta, where the plane crashed 13 minutes after taking off from the Indonesian capital.
Boeing declined to comment. The U.S. manufacturer has delivered 219 737 MAX jets to customers globally, according to Boeing’s website, and it has 4,564 orders for jets that have yet to be delivered.
The Boeing 737 MAX is a more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer’s popular single-aisle jet.
The Lion Air crash was the first involving the type of plane, which airlines introduced into service last year.