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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Lion Air executives suspended as crash probe widens

Indonesian government vows “strict sanctions” if a probe by safety board proves negligence on the part of the airline

Recovered shoes believed to be from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610 are laid out at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta. REUTERS
Recovered shoes believed to be from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610 are laid out at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta. REUTERS

Indonesia ordered the suspension of more employees of Lion Air as it widened a probe into the crash of flight JT610 into the Java Sea early this week.

The Transport Ministry asked the airline to immediately relieve the director for maintenance and engineering, managers of quality control and fleet maintenance and another engineer to facilitate a smooth investigation by the National Transport Safety Board, the ministry said in a statement. It also asked the carrier to immediately appoint a new director for maintenance and engineering and a quality control manager.

Authorities are cracking down on Lion Air and ordered an audit of its repair unit as the hunt for clues for the crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane continues for a fourth day. Divers are narrowing the search to an area believed to be the main wreckage of the plane that carried 189 people on board. The crashed plane had a technical issue with its airspeed and altitude readings during its previous flight from Bali to Jakarta, but it was fixed by the airline.

The ministry on Wednesday ordered the airline to suspend its director for maintenance and the engineer who cleared the ill-fated for flying even after the pilots had reported technical issues during a trip a day before the crash.

The government has vowed “strict sanctions” on Lion Air if a probe by the safety board proves negligence on the part of the airline, the ministry said on Wednesday. The ministry also ordered freezing of the license of suspended employees for 120 days.