Officials: Lion Air plane intact, engines running when it hit water

Officials: Lion Air plane intact, engines running when it hit water

By Nicholas Sakelaris

Nov. 5 (UPI) — Lion Air Flight 610 crashed with both engines running, meaning the airliner didn’t explode in mid-air as previously thought, investigators said Monday, investigators said Monday.

Authorities looked at the size of the debris field, and the fact that the engine blades were gone, to determine the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 was in “good shape” when it crashed Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board.

Recovery efforts are looking for the other “black box,” the cockpit voice recorder, as investigators analyze the flight data recorder found last week. The crash is being blamed on a “technical issue,” Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, told victims’ families Monday.

Aviation experts from multiple countries are analyzing the data to determine exactly how the aircraft performed during the flight. The plane was only a few months old and had logged a total of 19 flights and 800 flying hours.

The technical log shows the airliner had reported an “unreliable” airspeed reading on four of the prior flights, investigators said.

Pilots had reported a problem with one of the plane’s instruments on a flight the day before the crash.

After 10 minutes in the air, the plane dropped as it lost power. Robbi Gaharu, a passenger on a flight the day before, said it fell 400 feet and that it felt like falling into a “really, really deep hole,” CNN reported.

The rapid loss in altitude on that previous flight was also reported by a flight-tracking website.

Flight 610 left Pangkai Pinan, Indonesia, near Jakarta, and crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff. Pilot Bhavye Suneja attempted to return to the airport but the plane didn’t make it, officials have said. Dozens of remains have so far been recovered and all 189 are presumed dead.