Lion Air crash: Indonesian plane search focuses on fuselage

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In April, the airline announced a firm order to buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets, with a list price of $6.24 billion.

Investigators displayed one of the jet's two flight recorders at a news conference Thursday evening, later confirmed to be the flight data recorder, and said they would immediately attempt to upload information and begin analysis.

Earlier, Budi said Lion Air flight JT610, which served the Jakarta-Pangkal Pinang route, had been certified airworthy and had a valid airworthiness certificate and aircraft registration on the day of the accident.

Herson said Reuters wrongly quoted him as saying the Lion Air plane had sought to return to Bali.

National Transportation Safety Agency Chief Soerjanto Tjahjono said "pings" have been detected since Tuesday afternoon, believed to be from a ping locator attached to the black boxes of the aircraft, which are believed to be in the depth of between 30 and 35 meters. Nugroho said it was being shared as an image of the JT610 flight, but this was a "hoax".

Lion Air chief Mr Sirait said there was no plan to ground the rest of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet. Specialist ships and remotely operated underwater vehicles have been deployed to search for the plane's hull and flight recorders.

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In 2009, Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean after icing that blocked the pitot tubes caused unreliable airspeed data and the confused pilots entered a high-altitude stall and ignored cockpit alarms, according to a report from France's BEA.

Relatives are desperate to find traces of their loved ones, but so far only body parts and debris have been found.

President Joko Widodo visited Jakarta's port to examine items in a pile of debris laid out on tarpaulins, from mangled seats and flight attendants uniforms to bags and shoes.

The device, identified as the flight data recorder, would be handed over to Indonesia's transportation safety committee (KNKT), authorities said.

The CVR is now the focus of search efforts at the crash site in waters off Karawang regency in West Java, said Indonesian navy Colonel Johan Wahyudi, who heads the team of divers in the operation. But he acknowledged the plane's technical problems and said they were checked in Jakarta after it landed about 11:00pm, and the plane was deemed safe to fly the next morning.

One of Indonesia's top transport officials also revealed pings believed to be from the aircraft's "black box" data recorder had been heard.

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"They were going way faster than you would normally expect", said a second pilot at another airline.

Passengers on the earlier flight told TVOne that not only was the flight delayed due to technical problems, passengers were left stuck in the cabin without air conditioning for at least 30 minutes listening to what was described as an "unusual" engine roar.

Within three minutes of the takeoff, pilot Bhavye Suneja asked air traffic control if he could turn the plane around and return to Jakarta.

The tragedy has raised questions about the safety record of a country whose airlines were for years judged too risky to fly over Europe.

Six body parts had been filled with body parts already recovered. The Federal Aviation Administration lifted that ban in August 2016.

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