Probe finds glitch in Lion Air’s airspeed indicator

Members of an Indonesian rescue team unload a pair of tires from the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 on Monday, November 5. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2018
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Probe finds glitch in Lion Air’s airspeed indicator

  • Plane had malfunctioned on previous four flights, investigators say
  • Victims’ families to be taken to crash site on Tuesday, nine days after the incident

JAKARTA: Investigators tasked with analyzing the data recovered from a crashed Lion Air jet’s “black box” said on Monday that it had faced problems with its airspeed indicator during its previous four flights.
The incident which took place on October 29 resulted in the death of all 189 people on board.
The team from Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said that they had arrived at the preliminary conclusions after sifting through details of the flight data recorder (FDR), or black box, which was found in the Java Sea, near Karawang, West Java, last week.
“We have started to examine the FDR and will continue to analyze it. We found the plane’s speed indicators was damaged on the previous four flights,” KNKT Chairman, Soerjanto Tjahjono, said during a press conference on Monday.
The KNKT added that the FDR's recordings were 69 hours from 19 flights and the last date of recording was from the date of the crash and corresponded with public data available on flight-tracking websites.
Tjahjono said that the KNKT has asked the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Boeing to take the necessary measures to deal with issues with the speed indicator. “It is to prevent a similar accident from happening again especially on the Boeing 737 Max, which has sold more than 200 units around the world,” Tjahjono said.
Anugrah Satria, one of the passengers on the flight from Denpasar to Jakarta on the night before the crash, said that it was obvious that the plane was experiencing some problems as the flight kept getting delayed. “We had to wait inside the aircraft for about 20 minutes with the air conditioner not working. It started to taxi onto the runway but was retracted into a parking mode,” Satria told Arab News.
He added that the seat belt sign was on the for the entire duration of the one and half hour flight.
“There was some unusual noise coming from the engine and I could hear it because I was sitting in the window seat of row 22 near the wings,” he said, adding that the plane’s landing in Jakarta was not smooth either and bounced slightly as the tires touched the runway.
The crashed aircraft was undertaking its JT610 flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang, on the island of Bangka off Sumatra, on October 29.
As per reports, the pilots had requested to return to Jakarta, before losing contact with the air traffic controller, 13 minutes after it took off at 6.20am and after it had reached an altitude of 5,400 feet.
A search operation soon found the debris of the plane in the waters off Tanjung Pakis in Karawang, about 70 kilometers east of Jakarta.
At a meeting on Monday, to address the grieving families of the victims, Tjahjono said that the plane did not explode mid-air and was intact when it plunged into the sea, with its engine's turbines running at high speed.
Angry and distraught family members vented their frustration at the authorities for their lack of coordination and failure to provide information, with Muhammad Bambang Sukandar, the father of one of the victims, Pangky Pradana Sukandar, asking Rusdi Kirana, founder of Lion Air who was among the audience, to stand up. Kirana, who is also Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia, faced the angry audience, with his head slightly bowed and pressed his palms together without saying a word.
Another relative demanded that a detailed enquiry be conducted in the case which should continue even after the KNKT concludes its investigation or after the airline has compensated victims’ families. “This incident was caused by human error, whoever that is. It was pure negligence,” said another family member.
Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, Basarnas, said that it had extended the search operations by three days until Wednesday.
Basarnas' chief, Muhammad Syaugi, reassured family members that the agency would continue to look for the remains of the victims. “We are trying the best we can with all we have... we are not giving up. Hopefully with the remaining time we can search until the 10th day,” a visibly emotional Syaugi said, as he choked and struggled to hold back his tears.
The search operation is also looking to retrieve a second black box, which contains the voice cockpit recordings from the cockpit. The Basarnas, on its part, has handed over more than 17 additional body bags to the police’s forensic team, adding to the 138 previously collected from the crash site. The forensic team said it had identified at least 24 victims as of Monday afternoon.


Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection

This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows a human T cell, in blue, under attack by HIV, in yellow, the virus that causes AIDS. (AP)
Updated 4 min 16 sec ago
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Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection

  • The Trump administration has said it will invest $291 million in the next financial year to fight HIV/AIDS, which has plateaued since 2013 to around 39,000 annual transmissions

WASHINGTON: Almost 40 percent of new HIV cases in the US occur because people do not know they are infected, while a similar proportion know but are not in treatment, according to a study released Monday.
The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based on 2016 data and aims to bolster a strategy outlined by President Donald Trump to end the epidemic within 10 years.
The strategy has two main strands: far more widespread screening, and enabling the infected better access to treatment from the moment they test positive.
The study found that 38 percent of infections came from HIV-positive people who were unaware of their status, and 43 percent from people who knew they were infected but took no anti-retroviral drugs.
The remaining infections came from people who were receiving HIV treatment but were not yet “virally suppressed.”
The CDC blamed financial, social and other reasons for people not using medication, which these days typically comes in the form of a daily pill with minimal side effects.
The study said that the infection rate from the half million people in the United States who take medication and are virally suppressed — meaning they cannot pass on the disease to others — was zero.

The most at-risk group remains homosexual men, with almost three-quarters of new infections coming from men having sex with men, the report said.
Five percent of infections came from intravenous drug abuse among homosexual men, while 10 percent came from injecting drugs among the rest of the population.
Twelve percent of infections were among heterosexuals. Overall, the highest rate of transmission was among 13 to 24-year-olds.
The Trump administration has said it will invest $291 million in the next financial year to fight HIV/AIDS, which has plateaued since 2013 to around 39,000 annual transmissions.
The goal is to reduce that number by 75 percent within five years and by 90 percent in 10 years.
Questioned about the relatively small amount of money earmarked for the multi-billion dollar task of treating HIV carriers, CDC head Robert Redfield said he was “confident that the resources that are required to accomplish this mission are in the long term plan.”
The CDC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, wants doctors to make HIV screening a routine procedure.
“Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime,” said Eugene McCray, the head of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
“Those at higher risk should get tested at least annually,” he said.
“The key to controlling is helping those with HIV to control the virus,” said the CDC’s Jonathan Mermin, who focuses on preventing the spread of the HIV as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
“Time spent working closely with patients who are having trouble paying for, picking up or taking their daily medications is time well spent“