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Indonesia Military Chief "Strongly Believes" Crashed Lion Air Plane Found

The smashed fuselage of a crashed Indonesian jetliner may have been found, the country's military chief said Wednesday, two days after the deadly accident feared to have killed 189 people.

Using sonar technology, Hadi Tjahjanto said authorities were confident they had pinpointed the location of the Boeing 737-MAX plane that plunged into the sea on Monday.

"We strongly believe we've determined the coordinates of the JT 610 fuselage," he told reporters in Jakarta.

"However, it has not yet been confirmed that it is part of the fuselage."

Authorities have been searching for the downed jet's location in water some 30-40 meters deep in the hopes of also finding flight data recorders expected to be crucial to the crash investigation.

The development comes as Boeing officials are to meet with Lion Air on Wednesday, after Indonesia ordered an inspection of the US plane maker's 737-MAX jets.

The Boeing-737 MAX 8, which went into service just a few months ago, crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia's northern coast moments after it had asked to return to Jakarta on Monday.

Aviation experts say it is too early to determine what caused the accident.

But Lion's admission that the plane had an unspecified technical issue on a previous flight -- as well as the plane's abrupt nose dive just 12 minutes after takeoff -- have raised questions about whether the plane had any faults specific to the newly released model.

The accident has also resurrected concerns about Indonesia's patchy air safety record which led to a now-lifted ban on its planes entering US and European airspace.

"When you have a new plane, you expect the thing to work exactly like it's supposed to in the written contract.. It's in everyone's interest for this thing to work," Stephen Wright, aviation expert at the University of Leeds, told AFP.

 
 
           
 
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