The Indonesian plane crash on Lion Air Flight JT610 that killed 189 passengers on a Boeing 737 Max 8 on October 29th has touched many around the world. The fatalities occurred shortly after the plane took off from Jakarta airport and landed in the sea. The exact nature of the crash is unknown, but there are a number of unofficial sources that provide potential explanations for the crash.

Concerns over Flight Safety

While the Indonesian government has issued formal inspections of all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the ordinance comes at a time when passengers have faced increased concerns in flying with South East Asian flights. The Indonesian plane crash is one of many crashes that have occurred in the last 10 years in Indonesia. Nine plane crashes occurred between 2010-2014, and five more accidents would occur between 2015 and 2018.

What do we know about the crash?

Indonesian officials have confirmed that everyone aboard was killed in the crash. So far, DNA samples have been submitted by 132 family members related to the deceased passengers in an attempt to identify all passengers involved. While Indonesian officials have made significant progress in their investigation, they have warned that identifying all victims may take significant time, as the nature of the crash will pose challenges in obtaining the remains and identifying the victims based on limited DNA samples.

What has the investigation shown so far?

So far, an initial examination of the accident has indicated that the crash could have been caused by an engine issue. Reports regarding the incident have also uncovered that technicians raised safety concerns over the particular plane, the day before it took off. The night before the crash, substantial repairs were carried out on the plane.

Forensic experts have also recovered 24 body bags from the crash. The body bags have since been transferred to an Indonesian hospital for post-mortem processing. Forensic analysts have also indicated that the sea and surrounding environment will most likely impact the ability of analysists to satisfactorily test all victims. While the crash is still relatively recent, there are concerns over the decomposition of the bodies and time will exacerbate the effects of decomposition- making DNA identification harder.

The Plane’s Black Box

As of yet, the black box has not been found. A black box is a small device that is compartmentalized as part of a plane’s structure. It can be reviewed for flight details and records. Black boxes contain flight data recorders (FDRs) and cockpit voice recorders (CVRs). Both types of recorders are able to record the sequence of controls used the pilot and his or her officers. The recorders are also able to record audio. The black box is typically the first place that investigators look, when a plane crash happens.

This tragic event has highlighted the need for heightened safety protocols in the aviation industry. As the story continues to develop, we endeavor to provide updated information.

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