Lion Air technical director 'removed from duties' after deadly crash

Lion Air technical director 'removed from duties' after deadly crash

The nearly new Boeing 737 MAX 8 went down in the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Monday morning with 189 passengers and crew on board.

"Based on the presentation of the head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, the coordinates of the suspected body of the aircraft have been found".

President Joko Widodo had also ordered a review of all regulations relating to flight safety, Sumadi said.

The 2-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea on Monday just 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

The cause of the crash is not known, although a technical log from the plane's previous flight on Sunday showed one instrument was giving "unreliable" airspeed readings and the captain had to hand over to the first officer.

Only "small pieces" of the aircraft had been found, the diver said, adding that the search had gradually closed in on the black box.

Amid media speculation over the airworthiness of the aircraft, the transport minister suspended Lion Air's technical director and several technicians to facilitate the crash investigation.

The plane, carrying 189 people, crashed soon after taking off from Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, on Monday.

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Danang Mandala Prihantoro, a spokesman for Lion Air, said Wednesday that the airline fired its technical director, Muhammad Asif, at the direction of the Ministry of Transportation.

Officials said the non-stop search effort has sent 48 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts.

The airline is to meet a team from Boeing on Wednesday to discuss the fate of its 737 MAX 8 planes. After narrowing the possible location, "I started digging and cleaning the debris until I finally found an orange object", he said, standing on the deck of a ship next to his diving mate.

The accident has also resurrected concerns about Indonesia's patchy air safety record which led to a now-lifted ban on its planes entering USA and European airspace.

A team of engineers from Boeing was scheduled to arrive in Jakarta on Wednesday for meetings with Lion Air, according to Indonesia's transportation safety committee.

"The pilots might have been busy identifying the problem of the plane, so they might not have been focused on monitoring its speed", he speculated.

Relatives are desperate to be able to say goodbye to their loved ones and the first funeral for one of the passengers was held on Thursday. Its aircraft have been involved in at least 15 safety incidents and it has been placed under tougher worldwide safety restrictions than other Indonesian airlines.

The chief of the police's medical unit, Arthur Tampi, said it has received dozens of body parts for identification and is awaiting results of DNA tests, expected to take four to eight days.

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