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Indonesian investigators say doomed Lion Air jet 'airworthy'

AP  |  Jakarta 

Investigators of the Oct. 29 crash of a flight into the Sea say the 737 MAX was deemed airworthy when it made its final takeoff from

The officials summoned reporters Thursday to clarify comments made at a conference the day before, where some media reported the investigators had said the plane was not airworthy when it took off.

The issue of airworthiness is crucial because of concerns over technical issues with the new 737 MAX that crashed and questions over the airline's safety procedures.

All 189 people aboard the flight between and a regional airport died in the disaster.

The investigators were reporting this week on data from the aircraft's black boxes. They say the cockpit voice recorder, which is still missing and being searched for, is needed to understand what exactly caused the jet to plunge in the Sea just 11 minutes after takeoff.

"The NTSC and the of Communication never stated that Lion Air, 737-8 MAX registered PK-LQP, was not airworthy," said

On Wednesday, Utomo said the plane had experienced technical problems on four of the six flights before it crashed. On its penultimate flight, as during the final one, pilots struggled to prevent an automatic safety feature from forcing the nose of the down due to problems with its sensors.

Utomo said that based on maintenance records, flight engineers had made repairs and run tests.

"Based on the test results, the aircraft was declared airworthy, also when the plane departed from Jakarta, the aircraft was in airworthy condition," he said.

Another investigator, Ony Suryo Wibowo, said there were special procedures to be followed when there are problems with an aircraft.

"But in principle, when the has stated it's airworthy, then it's airworthy," he said.

Wibowo said the would make the final choice about whether or not to cancel or abort a flight, and the investigators were trying to understand how the made his decision "When the plane is on the ground, the responsibility for airworthiness is on the engineer, and when the plane is in the air, the airworthiness is entirely in the pilot's hands," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 29 2018. 15:45 IST