Speculation grows over the causes of Lion Air crash

Lion Air JT610 relatives

Lion Air plane had airspeed problem on flight prior to crash - official

The two-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea early on Monday just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

The search and rescue agency all but ruled out finding any survivors late Monday, citing the discovery of body parts that suggested a high-impact crash in water some 30-40 metres deep off the coast of Indonesia's Java island.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 passenger plane was flying from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang at 06.10 local time (2330GMT Sunday) but lost contact with the air traffic controllers about 13 minutes after it took off.

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.

"This morning I've been briefed by the head of Search and Rescue Agency about the strong possibility of the location coordinates of Flight 610", he said.

It is most likely that this black box is the flight data recorder (FDR).

"We hope we can see the plane's main body - everything on the surface of the water has been collected", Syaugi said.

Also on Thursday, the Indonesian Transport ministry officially asked more members of Lion Air's management to be relieved of duty so they could assist with the investigation.

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Indonesia's military chief says a massive search effort has identified the possible seabed location of the crashed Lion Air jet.

Inspections have already been carried out on Lion Air's other Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, preventing them from flying.

The flight data recorder holds information about dozens of parameters of the aircraft's performance, including its speed, altitude and direction. All people on board are presumed to be dead. "Engineers in Jakarta received notes and did another fix before it took off" on Monday.

A black box is a flight recorder placed in an aircraft for the goal of facilitating investigations in the event of a crash.

Lion Air chief executive Edward Sirait said on Tuesday that the plane had had technical problems, but had been repaired before being allowed to fly again.

"If there is an anomaly, some technical problem, it is recorded there too", said aviation analyst Dudi Sudibyo.

But Lion's admission that the plane had an unspecified technical issue on a previous flight - as well as the plane's abrupt nosedive just 12 minutes after takeoff - have raised questions about whether it had any faults specific to the newly released model.

DNA samples have been taken from 132 family members of passengers on board to help with identification, but the Jakarta police commissioner warned that identifying the victims could be hard, and each body bag so far transferred could contain the remains of more than one person. The ban was completely lifted in June.

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