Lion Air crash: Indonesia to inspect all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes

Jakarta,Indonesia has ordered an inspection of all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes belonging to national commercial airlines, a day after Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the sea minutes after takeoff from the capital Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

transportation ministry official Capt. Avirianto said Lion Air currently has 11 of the models in its fleet while national carrier Garuda Indonesia has one.
“We have inspected Garuda last night while Lion is still in progress,” he said, adding that the ministry hopes to inspect at least three of Lion Air’s planes Tuesday night and the other eight soon.
It is unclear whether the Garuda aircraft passed the inspection.
The managing director of Lion Air group, Daniel Putut Adi Kuncoro, confirmed to CNN that the transport ministry was carrying out the inspections. “We are waiting for their results,” he said. “We will follow what the regulator tells us to do.”
Search-and-rescue operations expanded to at least 400 square nautical miles Tuesday, with divers working to bring passenger remains out of the water and investigators examining fragments of debris scattered over a large expanse of sea.
The aircraft’s fuselage and flight data recorders are yet to be recovered. They should provide more evidence about what caused the flight to crash about 13 minutes after taking off on a routine flight expected to take just over an hour.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo joined search teams at Tanjung Priok port Tuesday, where remains and debris recovered from the crash site have been unloaded.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, inspects debris recovered from the Lion Air flight 610 crash site on October 30, 2018.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, inspects debris recovered from the Lion Air flight 610 crash site on October 30, 2018.

What we know
The plane went down at around 6:30 a.m. Monday, en route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang
Indonesian authorities believe all 189 people on board were killed
The so-called black box flight recorder has yet to be found
Flight crew reported an issue with the plane the night before the flight, and repairs were carried out

Police said Tuesday that 24 body bags had been transferred from the crash to a local hospital for post-mortems. DNA samples have been taken from 132 family members of passengers on board to help with identification, but the Jakarta police commissioner warned that identifying the victims could be difficult, and each body bag so far transferred could contain the remains of more than one person.
At a news conference Tuesday, Muhammad Syaugi of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency said the identification process was proceeding as quickly as possible, but said it was unlikely the remains of all passengers would be found.

Personal items from Lion Air flight 610 seen as Search and Rescue personnel examine recovered material at the Tanjung Priok port on October 30, 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Personal items from Lion Air flight 610 seen as Search and Rescue personnel examine recovered material at the Tanjung Priok port on October 30, 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Cause of crash remains a mystery
The plane, a new Boeing 737 MAX 8, was carrying 181 passengers, as well as six cabin crew members and two pilots, bound for Pangkal Pinang on the Indonesian island of Bangka.
It made a request to air traffic control to return to the airport around 19 kilometers (12 miles) after takeoff, but did not indicate there was any emergency.
Radar data did not show that the plane had turned back, and air traffic controllers lost contact with it soon after, Yohanes Sirait, spokesman for AirNav Indonesia, the agency that oversees air traffic navigation,
David Soucie, a former safety inspector with the US Federal Aviation Administration, said the fact that an emergency wasn’t declared should be a cause for concern.
“What’s most peculiar to me is the fact that they didn’t declare an emergency. They just simply said, ‘We’re going back’,” said Soucie, a CNN safety analyst.
“But when I look at the track of the aircraft after that, the aircraft made a very steep dive after that which is not typical of what they would’ve done,” he added. “They would have maintained altitude and made that turn and come back to (the airport).”
The plane had reported problems the night before on a flight from Denpasar to Jakarta, but engineers had checked and repaired the issue and given the plane clearance to fly, Lion Air Chief Executive Edward Sirait told local media.
AirNav Indonesia said the flight would have been given a priority landing spot had it declared an emergency.
“Something happened to lose control of that aircraft,” Soucie said.
He ruled out weather as a cause of the crash, however, since the plane did not appear to attempt to turn back toward Jakarta. “That says that something abrupt and very fast happened to the aircraft.”
Though the flight data recorder and voice cockpit recorder — the so-called black boxes — have yet to be recovered, Soucie warned that the emergency locator transmitters on them are somewhat unreliable, and could be undetectable, as they were with the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
“When that aircraft goes down, the first thing you find is those boxes, and if the signal that tells where they are isn’t working or is not designed properly, that’s a big problem,” he said. “It’s again more of a systemic problem than it is a particular aircraft.”
Black boxes typically provide information on the causes of the crash and final minutes of the flight.
A relative of a passenger prays as she and others wait for news on the Lion Air plane.

A relative of passengers prays as she and others wait for news on a Lion Air plane that crashed off Java Island at Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Indonesia disaster agency says that the Lion Air Boeing 737-800 plane crashed into sea shortly after it left Indonesia’s capital Monday morning. (AP Photo/Hadi Sutrisno)


New aircraft
Lion Air acquired the Boeing jet in August and it had flown only 800 hours, according to Indonesia’s National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC).
The aircraft is one of Boeing’s newest and most advanced jets, one of 11 such planes in Lion Air’s fleet. In a statement, Boeing said the company was “deeply saddened” by the loss and offered “heartfelt sympathies” to passengers and crew on board, and their families.
Soucie said 800 hours was plenty of time “to get this tried and true.”
He added the MAX 8 was “the top of the line, it’s one of the best you can buy … I don’t see anything coming back towards maintenance on this issue or the flight of the aircraft itself.”
CNN aviation analyst Peter Goelz agreed that the loss of such a new aircraft was “highly unusual.”
But because Lion Air jet’s pilot and co-pilot were experienced — 6,000 and 5,000 flight hours, respectively — and weather did not seem to be a factor, investigators would be focusing on the aircraft, said Goelz, a former chairman of the US National Transportation Safety Board.
An image released by Indonesian rescue officials of debris pulled from the water.

An image released by Indonesian rescue officials of debris pulled from the water.


‘I have to be strong’
Agency staff are going through personal items recovered from the crash site, including passports, wallets and IDs. Images show a child’s bright red Hello Kitty money pouch among items retrieved from the sea.
More remains and debris were unloaded at the Tanjung Priok port late Tuesday afternoon local time, where Indonesia’s Transport Minister, Budi Karya Sumadi, joined search teams in examining the material.
Search teams examine debris pulled from the sea near the crash site of Lion Air flight 610.

Search teams examine debris pulled from the sea near the crash site of Lion Air flight 610.

One family member, 14-year-old Keshia Aurelia, was in high school when she heard the news her mother Fifi Hajanto had been on the plane when it went down.
“We cried a lot in (the crisis center) while we were waiting for the authorities,” she told CNN. “All of the families were crying. I’m not the only one suffering so I have to be strong.”
“My mom was a very kind person,” Aurelia added. “I don’t understand why (this happened).”

Fifi Hajanto (right), 42, was on board Lion Air flight 610 when it went down, her daughter Keshia Aurelia (pictured left with her mother and brother) told CNN.

Fifi Hajanto (right), 42, was on board Lion Air flight 610 when it went down, her daughter Keshia Aurelia (pictured left with her mother and brother) told CNN.

Nunik Hesti, 53, lost both her son and grandson in the disaster. The pair — Wahyu Aldilla and Xherdan Fahrezi — had traveled to Jakarta to watch a football game over the weekend.
“I saw the breaking news coverage of the plane crash,” she said. “My heart sank. I just lost it.”

Nuni Hesti (left) lost both her son and grandson in the Lion Air flight 610 disaster.

Nuni Hesti (left) lost both her son and grandson in the Lion Air flight 610 disaster.

credit : Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN)

Kerala flood

In a Venezuela Ravaged by Inflation, ‘a Race for Survival

CARACAS, Venezuela — Of all the compromises he has had to make during Venezuela’s economic crisis, none may be as great for Carlos Sandoval as the books. A self-described bibliophile — “my life is literature,” he said — Mr. Sandoval is one of Venezuela’s foremost literary critics and a professor at two of the country’s finest universities. Yet, Mr. Sandoval can no longer afford to buy books.“It’s the worst sacrifice,” he lamented.Venezuela’s deepening economic crisis has spared few across the population of more than 30 million.The nation is on the verge of, and by some measures already in, an extraordinary period of hyperinflation, with the inflation rate above 800 percent through October. Next year, consumer prices are forecast by the International Monetary Fund to soar more than 2,300 percent.

This is an economy in which even the hourly rate in a parking lot recently ticked upward in the two hours it took a shopper to run some errands.Venezuelans of all socio-economic classes have been buffeted by sharply rising costs amid desperate scarcities of food and medicine, the collapse of public services and the medical system, and rampant crime. Their purchasing power has plummeted as wage increases have lagged far behind prices.But affording purchases is only one major challenge. Another is figuring out how to actually pay for them.The Venezuelan currency, the bolívar, is in short supply, and finding a fistful of them has become one of the nightmares of daily life. People are compelled to endure long lines at cash machines to withdraw maximum amounts equivalent to about 10 cents — just enough to pay for several round trips on a public bus.

A shopper counting cash at an outdoor market in Caracas. The Venezuelan currency, the bolívar, is in short supply, and people endure long lines at cash machines.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

A shopper counting cash at an outdoor market in Caracas. The Venezuelan currency, the bolívar, is in short supply, and people endure long lines at cash machines.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

The economic turmoil has put families — poor and affluent alike — at the intersection of some very tough choices, bred a stressful uncertainty about the course of any given day and turned the most basic tasks into feats of endurance.“Something so simple as taking money out of a bank machine or buying a coffee or taking a taxi has become a race for survival,” Mr. Sandoval said.Some in Venezuela have started equating the nation’s travails to a country during wartime. But the deterioration has in some ways been less dramatic and more insidious.At first glance the severity of the situation might not be immediately obvious to a newcomer. Viewed from a certain remove, Caracas may seem like any other capital in the developing world: streets crowded with traffic, people hustling to work, shops open and doing business.But on closer inspection, those impressions quickly fall away to reveal a society falling apart, and people struggling to hold their lives together and make it through the day. The administration of President Nicolás Maduro stopped publishing inflation data long ago. But the opposition-controlled National Assembly, whose economic data is generally in line with those of private economists, said that the inflation rate hit 45.5 percent in October, up from 36.3 percent the month before, putting Venezuela on the statistical doorstep of hyperinflation, commonly regarded as 50 percent per month or higher. But hyperinflationary conditions have already existed, economists say, particularly as prices on some key goods and services have risen by more than 50 percent month over month, putting them out of reach of an increasing number of people.

The stress and the costs are rendered most starkly among the poor, where margins of survival are measured in pennies.For nearly two decades, Beatríz, 53, worked as a nurse in Caracas, a career she loved. Even though she earned only slightly more than minimum wage, she made enough to make ends meet for her and her five children.“Food was never an issue,” said Beatríz, who, like some others interviewed for this article, asked that her full name be withheld for fear that she would be persecuted by the Maduro administration for criticizing the economic situation.Several years ago, Beatríz was laid off from her job as the economy worsened, and she found work as the staff cleaner in the Caracas office of an international advertising firm.

She now makes about what she did as a nurse, yet it is no longer enough to cover her family’s basic needs, even though her household has shrunk to only three people: herself, a son and her ailing 76-year-old mother.
Cooking corn cakes with grated cheese for dinner in the family home of Beatríz, a former nurse who now struggles to feed her family and asked that her last name not be used. “We have to choose between medicine and food,” she said.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Cooking corn cakes with grated cheese for dinner in the family home of Beatríz, a former nurse who now struggles to feed her family and asked that her last name not be used. “We have to choose between medicine and food,” she said.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

“We have to choose between medicine and food,” Beatríz said. Like many poor Venezuelans, she has been gradually eliminating meals from her daily routine. She is now down to one, dinner, which usually consists of little more than rice and beans or pasta. “It seems like a lie, but it’s not,” she said. “It’s not a matter of living. It’s a matter of survival.”

A survey conducted by a group of national universities found that in 2016, about 80 percent of Venezuelans were living in poverty.In October, the cost of the basic monthly food basket that a family of four would need rose 48 percent during the month, according to the Analysis and Documentation Center for Workers, a nonprofit organization associated with the teachers union. Wage increases have lagged far behind the rise in costs of goods and services, putting them further out of the reach of consumers.David, a 42-year-old hairdresser with three children, started paring back his expenses several years ago. First went the annual vacation to visit family in Mérida, his hometown, in western Venezuela. Then went the biweekly clothes purchases for his children. The family has not gone to the cinema, once a regular family treat, since last year.Like other families hovering around the poverty line, they subscribe to a government program that is supposed to provide a box of subsidized food once a month, though deliveries are often less frequent. A recent box contained about four and a half pounds of black beans, the same amount of sugar, slightly more than two pounds of corn meal mix, five cans of tuna and four and a half pounds of pasta.“For a family of five, that goes quickly,” he said. “We don’t eat much.”David, like many Venezuelans, spends a lot of time waiting in line to buy basic goods — when they are available. The other day he awoke before 5 a.m. and stood in line for nearly two and a half hours to buy a canister of cooking gas. By the time he got to the front of the line, the supply had run out.

As he told the story, he seemed neither annoyed nor angry. Just resigned. “It’s like something from a movie where you become accustomed to something that you shouldn’t be accustomed to,” he said. “Standing in line erodes the mind, erodes your thinking, the capacity to create.”

Over 100 people lined up in Caracas to purchase price-controlled chicken. Chicken is highly sought after, yet very difficult to find for sale at affordable prices in Venezuela.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Over 100 people lined up in Caracas to purchase price-controlled chicken. Chicken is highly sought after, yet very difficult to find for sale at affordable prices in Venezuela.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Exacerbating the country’s crisis, the bolívar has been in free-fall against the dollar in recent months. On Friday, the dollar was trading at about 103,024 bolívars on the black market, more than double what it was a month ago and about 33 times its value at the beginning of the year, according to DolarToday.com, a widely consulted website that tracks the black market rates.

The two-year graph of the rate change looks like the path of a plane that, after a sprint along a runway, executes a near-vertical take off.

Under strict currency controls first imposed by Mr. Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, citizens and private companies struggled to buy dollars through the official channels to pay for imports, giving rise to the parallel, and illegal, black market currency exchange.

Selling carrots, potatoes and yucca at a market in Caracas. People are increasingly depending on yucca for meals, because it is one of the few food products they can afford.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Selling carrots, potatoes and yucca at a market in Caracas. People are increasingly depending on yucca for meals, because it is one of the few food products they can afford.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

The soaring cost of dollars has in turn made imports even more expensive. Public buses, garbage trucks and ambulances in disrepair remain out of service longer, or forever, for lack of imported spare parts.

But the plummeting bolívar also means those who earn in dollars can live like royalty.

On a recent evening at La Esquina, one of the capital’s most fashionable and expensive restaurants, many of the dishes were in the range of 100,000-200,000 bolívars — a fortune in a country where the monthly minimum wage is 177,507 bolívars, yet less than $2.50 in black market dollars at that day’s exchange rate.

The shortage of cash, and the enormous number of rapidly devaluing bills required to buy even the cheapest items, has accelerated digital banking in Venezuela. Transactions using credit cards and debit cards, or internet bank transfers, are the norm, even in some street markets.

Barter is also becoming more common. Mr. Sandoval said that a secretary in his university office recently offered a swap of some corn meal for bathroom soap.

While most taxis still demand payment in cash, Mr. Sandoval said that over the years he had assembled a network of taxi drivers who trust him enough to allow him to pay in bank transfers, which helps ensure that his transportation is covered as he zips from job to job, appointment to appointment.

He has built a busy life for himself to make ends meet: On top of his two university jobs and a position at a publishing house, he has taken on an array of freelance gigs, including editing a novel and teaching writing workshops.

People started lining up at midnight outside of this store, rumored to have received a shipment of corn flour, which is used to make arepas — corn cakes that are a staple of Venezuelan cuisine. Many left empty-handed.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

People started lining up at midnight outside of this store, rumored to have received a shipment of corn flour, which is used to make arepas — corn cakes that are a staple of Venezuelan cuisine. Many left empty-handed.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Venezuelans call this kind of side work “matar un tigre,” or killing a tiger. And Mr. Sandoval is killing tigers right and left. Yet, there is no relief.

“With this situation,” he said, “everything has gotten much more difficult.”

Despite all the additional work he has taken on, he has watched his purchasing power spiral downward. A decade ago, his university paycheck would have covered his household expenses, food and mortgage, leaving enough extra to buy some trousers or a pair of shoes.

“Now, to buy a pair of shoes, I have to put together two biweekly paychecks and hope that a light bulb doesn’t break,” he said.

His wife, who has both Spanish and Venezuelan citizenship, wants to move to Spain, but he is resisting. He fears that despite everything, he would miss Caracas.

“I’d die spiritually,” he said.

“This has to change at some moment,” he added, referring to the crisis. “I’m not sure how, but it has to change.”

Eduardo Jose Martinez, 13, at left, searching for discarded food and recyclables to exchange for money.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Eduardo Jose Martinez, 13, at left, searching for discarded food and recyclables to exchange for money.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times