Passengers who landed safely after a “roller coaster” flight on a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX are counting their blessings after learning that the same air craft crashed just minutes into its very next flight. The aircraft had reportedly experienced serious instrument problems on the prior flight before making a doomed 13-minute-journey on Monday.
Lion Air passengers are now reporting just how serious the issues attributed to the Boeing 737 MAX which tragically crashed into the Java Sea on Monday, actually were. According to passengers onboard the jet on the flight the night before, the flight crew struggled to maintain altitude during the previous trip from Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) to Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport (CGK) – reportedly due to a faulty airspeed indicator.
“About three to eight minutes after it took off, I felt like the plane was losing power and unable to rise,” passenger Alon Soetanto told local television reporters. “That happened several times. We felt like in a rollercoaster. Some passengers began to panic and vomit.”
Indonesia National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC) Deputy Chief Haryo Satmiko confirmed that a faulty airspeed monitor was reported by pilots on the Sunday evening flight before the plane, passengers and crew were lost on an ill-fated flight the very next day. Lion Air President Edward Sirait said the maintenance issues experienced on the Sunday evening flight were addressed and resolved before the doomed Boeing 737 MAX-8 was cleared to return to service Monday morning.
On the 737’s final journey, Lion Air Flight JT610 with 189 souls aboard, disappeared from air traffic control radar just 13 minutes after takeoff from CGK on route to Pangkal Pinang Airport (PGK). Moments earlier the captain had requested permission to return to the airport for unspecified reasons before losing contact. The plane, which had been in service for just under three months, had crashed into the Java Sea. Authorities say no survivors are expected to be recovered.
[Photo: AP/Tatan Syuflana