Indonesia removes Lion Air director after plane crash

20 May 2016 shows Lion Air planes parked at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali Indonesia 04 November 2015

20 May 2016 shows Lion Air planes parked at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali Indonesia 04 November 2015

A report by BBC quoted Lion Air Chief Executive Edward Sirait as saying that the plane had an unspecified "technical issue" on a previous flight, but he said that this had been "resolved".

"Our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of lives in the Lion Air Plane crash, off the coast of Jakarta today".

Search teams are using an underwater drone, as well as underwater "pinger locators", to try to pick up the sonar signals from the cockpit recorders.

"We strongly believe we've determined the coordinates of the JT 610 fuselage", he told reporters in Jakarta. Preliminary flight tracking data from the Flightradar website showed the aircraft climbed to around 5,000 feet before losing, and then regaining, height, before finally falling towards the sea.

The airline operates 11 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes but the others have not had a similar technical problem and there is no plan to ground the fleet, he added. Captain Suneja had over 6,000 flight hours of experience.

According to the engineers, the aircraft's tech log shows a record of a problem with "elevator feel and control" on the last flight the day before the tragedy that claimed 189.

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Lion Air, a low-priced carrier, was barred from flying in US or European Union airspace due to its poor safety record. "Some passengers began to panic and vomit".

Founded in 1999, the budget carrier capitalised on a boom in Indonesia's aviation industry, but has been plagued by safety woes and complaints over unreliable scheduling and poor service.

The two-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea early Monday, just 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta for an island off Sumatra.

Indonesia's transport minister ordered an inspection of all 737-MAX aircraft on Tuesday.

Suneja had joined Lion Air in March 2011.

Lion Air acknowledged a fault with the plane but said it was fixed it before Flight 610, which crashed into the sea with 189 people on board.

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But the narrow-body jet was subsequently cleared for commercial delivery and has had thousands of orders from more than 100 customers worldwide.

Hundreds of rescue personnel searched seas where the plane crashed, sending more than three dozen body bags to identification experts, while the airline flew dozens of grieving relatives to the country's capital, Jakarta.

TV Presenter Conchita Caroline said boarding of the Sunday flight was delayed for about an hour and the plane was forced to return to its parking space.

Authorities have all but ruled out finding any survivors, with 49 body bags containing human remains so far sent for identification.

The story went viral online as social media users tried to figure out who the couple was and if they were on the plane. Savitri was not on the plane.

"I keep praying for a miracle, although, logically, the plane has sunk in the ocean", Toni Priyono Adhi, whose daughter was aboard, said.

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