See More on Facebook

Analysis

Lion Air crash details revealed

Even the strongest body part of plane broke apart, says Indonesian official.


Written by

Updated: November 6, 2018

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said on Monday (Nov 5) that the Lion Air jetliner that plunged into the Java Sea last Monday suffered a more devastating crash impact than an AirAsia flight that crashed into the sea in December 2014.

All 189 passengers on board Lion Air Flight JT610 are feared dead after the plane crashed 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta. The plane was bound for Pangkal Pinang.

It was Indonesia’s worst aviation disaster since  a Garuda Indonesia plane crashed in Medan in 1997, killing all 214 people on board.

The size of the debris collected so far showed the ill-fated Lion Air dived into the water at high speed and the plane broke in pieces upon impact with the water body, Mr Soerjanto Tjahjono, chief of the National Transportation Safety Committee, told a radio station.

His comments effectively ruled out earlier suggestions by some quarters that the plane might have broken apart in mid-air.

“The plane broke apart upon impact when it hit the water. There has been no signs of material fatigue. There were worries by some that the plane broke apart in mid-air due to material fatigue. We can confirm it is not the case,” he told Elshinta radio.

“The Lion Air crash is more devastating than Air Asia’s. Lion Air fell hard into the sea at high speed, while the Air Asia (plane) stalled and glided into the sea,” he said, referring to AirAsia Flight QZ8501 which crashed into the Java Sea off Borneo 40 minutes after take-off from Surabaya.  There were 162 people on board the Singapore-bound flight.

“At impact, in the Lion Air case, the engine was running at high speed.”

Some experts have said that the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane nosed downward so abruptly that it may have hit speeds of 1,000kmh or more before slamming into the sea.

The search team have recovered a flight data recorder, both the engines, a part of the landing gear, body parts of victims and personal belongings in a week-long search which was extended for three more days on Sunday.

In comments that highlighted the challenges ahead as divers continued on Monday to search for the main wreckage and cockpit voice recorder, Mr Soerjanto said the chances of finding the Lion Air plane’s fuselage in one good piece are not high as even its strongest body part was torn apart in the crash.

The KNKT chief said last week that a preliminary report of the investigations into one of the country’s worst aviation disasters will be released in about a month while a complete study may take up to six months.

KNKT chief Mr Soerjanto said on Monday his agency has managed to download data from flight data recorder, consisting data of past 19 flights.

He told reporters that search teams have not been able to detect any signal from the missing cockpit video recorder (CVR) since two days ago, but he stressed that the authorities will do their utmost to retrieve the device which experts say is crucial to unraveling what happened during the Lion Air plane’s final moments on Oct 29.

Referring to the CVR, a senior official at the national search and rescue agency (Basarnas) told The Straits Times:”It’s buried under the sea mud. When strong sea current comes, it will unearth the device or at least reduce the thickness of the mud covering it, allowing the signal to be picked up again.”

He added that search teams had earlier detected signals from both equipment – flight data recorder and cockpit video recorder – at the onset of the search operations. The CVR had weaker ‘ping’ signals even at that time because it was covered by mud, said the Basarnas official who spoke on condition of annonymity.

In particular, the device, also known as audio black box, may explain why the crew of JT610 asked to return to base minutes into the journey, and reveal any exchanges in the cockpit before the fatal high-speed plunge into the sea, reported Bloomberg News.

So far 138 body bags containing human remains have been recovered. Fourteen victims have been identified by DNA tests and their personal belongings.

“Today, we will do an identification process on more than 30 body bags. Methods used are fingerprints, matching dental records, DNA, as well as matching personal belongings,” Colonel Lisda Cancer, head of Indonesian national police DVI (Disaster Victim Identification) department, told Elshinta radio.

The Indonesian Transport Ministry said in a statement that the authorities are also conducting a “special audit” of the standard operating procedures of the budget airline, the flight crew’s qualifications and coordination with industry stakeholders.

The government had already ordered a review of Lion Air’s repair and maintenance unit and suspended several managers as it emerged the ill-fated jet had reported some technical issues on a flight from Bali to Jakarta a day before the crash.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis

South Korea outpaces China with 505 new virus cases

The death toll now stands at 13, while 26 patients have been discharged after recovering fully. South Korea has reported its largest daily spike of 505 new coronavirus infections, outnumbering China for the first time as the government restricted exports of face masks amid a supply shortage. China, where the central city of Wuhan is the epicentre of the country’s outbreak, recorded 450 new cases yesterday. This brings South Korea’s total tally to 1,766, as officials warn that the number will continue to grow until around March 20 – two months after its first case. Experts say South Korea’s numbers are spiking because the authorities are testing people by the thousands each day, with the aim of testing all 210,000 members o


By The Straits Times
February 28, 2020

Analysis

China’s coronavirus fight remains challenging

 Key Party meeting calls for full vigilance in control, prevention tasks to avoid risks. The novel coronavirus epidemic in Hubei province is still complicated and challenging, a key Party meeting concluded on Wednesday as it drew attention to the risks of the epidemic rebounding in other areas. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, presided over the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in which members listened to a report by the leading group of the CPC Central Committee on coping with the epidemic outbreak and discussed key related tasks. At the meeting, Xi and other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee donate


By China Daily
February 27, 2020

Analysis

UN chief hails China’s efforts to contain outbreak

Official urges all countries to ‘do everything to be prepared’ to contain the epidemic. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday praised China’s contribution to the global fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, noting that the Chinese people are making efforts for all of humanity. The UN chief expressed his gratitude to all of the people in China who are sacrificing many aspects of their normal lives to prevent the virus from further spreading, after discussing the outbreak with World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva. Guterres said the decline in the number of new cases in China since the beginning of February is a very good sign, and he expressed the hope that this trend


By China Daily
February 26, 2020

Analysis

WHO calls China’s anti-virus effort ‘aggressive, agile’

Control measures taken by the country offered experience in improving the global response to the disease. While the substantial recent slowdown in the spread of novel coronavirus in China is real, and it is now reasonable to restore work activities step by step, health experts warned that risks abound of the virus flaring up again and they cautioned against complacency, the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 said at a news conference after its one-week field investigations in China. “Ambitious, agile and aggressive” control measures taken by China to control the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, bolstered by nationwide solidarity and advanced scientific research, have altered the curve of the outbreak for the better, averted a large number of potentia


By China Daily
February 25, 2020

Analysis

Map shows latest tally of Covid-19 cases in Taiwan, Taipei tops list

 After Taiwan reported its first confirmed cases, health authorities finally released on Monday the latest tally of Covid-19 cases in each administrative region, with Taipei being the highest.  More than one month after Taiwan reported its first confirmed cases, health authorities finally released on Monday the latest tally of COVID-19 cases in each administrative region, with Taipei being the highest. An interactive map on the website of Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows the cities and counties where the country’s 28 coronavirus patients currently reside. Marked in red, the capital city has listed sev


By Asia News Network
February 24, 2020

Analysis

Asean, China enhance cooperation in response to Covid-19

The Asean Coordinating Council (ACC) and the Asean-China Foreign Ministers met on Thursday in Laos to discuss to how to respond to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The ACC’s special meeting, initiated by Vietnam as Chair of ASEAN, was attended by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN member countries and the ASEAN Secretary-General. Chairing the meeting, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the event aimed to implement the ASEAN Chair’s Statement released on February 14 on the bloc’s collective response to COVID-19. Minh said that in the face of the epidemic, ASEAN needed to promote its cohesive and responsive spirit, and intensify co-operation within the bloc and between the bloc and its partners to respond to ch


By Viet Nam News
February 21, 2020