JAKARTA - Indonesian transport minister Budi Karya has ordered local airlines Lion Air and Garuda to inspect their Boeing 737 Max airplanes as the authorities continue to investigate and search for survivors of Monday's Lion Air crash in which 189 people are feared dead.
"We sent a letter to Lion Air and Garuda yesterday to do their inspection. The results will be handed over to KNKT to help with the investigation," Mr Budi told reporters on Tuesday (Oct 30), using the acronym for the National Transportation Safety Committee of Indonesia.
Lion Air is believed to have eight Boeing 737 Max aircraft, while Garuda has one.
"We understand the pilot made a return to base request. There are things that need clarification. Before we analyse the crew's actions and the possibility of human error, we must first perform an analysis of the plane," Mr Budi said.
He gave his assurance that a thorough and objective investigation will be carried out.
Meanwhile, aircraft manufacturer Boeing said it is deeply saddened by the loss of Lion Air Flight JT610. "We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of those on board," it said in a statement on Tuesday.
Boeing said it is providing technical assistance at the request and under the direction of government authorities investigating the accident.
“We do not rule out the possibility that we and Boeing will sit together to discuss the results of both our investigation and Boeing’s before we hand over our reports to KNKT,” Mr Budi said.
The search for survivors from the ill-fated Lion Air Flight JT610, which plunged into the Java Sea minutes after take-off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport on Monday morning, continues into its second day amid fears that all 189 people on board had died from the crash.
Rescuers at the crash site off the waters of Karawang, West Java, sent 34 body bags containing human remains, including possibly that of a baby, for DNA testing on Tuesday.