Lion Air Boeing 737 saved by off-duty pilot a day before crash: Report

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Dimas Ardian | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A Lion Air Boeing Co. 737 Max 8 aircraft, right, stands on the tarmac at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cenkareng, Indonesia, on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

One day before the deadly crash of a Lion Air plane on Oct. 29 last year, pilots flying that Boeing 737 Max 8 lost control of the aircraft — but they were saved by an off-duty colleague riding in the cockpit, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

That off-duty pilot correctly identified the problem the crew was facing and guided them to disable the flight control system in order to save the plane, according to the report, which cited two people familiar with the investigation in Indonesia.

Investigators said the flight control system malfunction that day was identical to what brought down the same aircraft the next day, according to the report. The Boeing plane, operated by a different crew, crashed into Indonesia’s Java Sea, killing all 189 on board.

Lion Air did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. A Lion Air spokesman told Bloomberg that the airline has submitted all data and information to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee and cannot comment further due to the ongoing investigation.

Boeing declined to comment, while the Indonesian safety committee did not immediately reply to CNBC’s request for comment.

Less than five months after the Lion Air crash, on March 10, a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed. None of the 157 on board survived.

The two fatal accidents involving the same plane model led to authorities around the world — including in the U.S., Europe, China and Indonesia — to ground Boeing 737 Max planes. The U.S. Department of Transportation said on Tuesday it has asked to audit the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 planes.

For the full report on what happened the day before the Lion Air plane crash, read Bloomberg.



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