Although investigations have just begun on the Lion Air plane crash in Indonesia that killed all 189 people aboard Oct. 29, some evidence has emerged pointing to a possible defect or damage in the newly manufactured Boeing aircraft.
Passengers who flew on the same Lion Air flight from Bali to Jakarta the night before the crash said the airplane was flying like a “roller coaster” and that the engine was making an unusual noise throughout the flight, according to CBS News.
Reports of the erratic flying are especially concerning because the airplane – a practically brand-new Boeing 737 Max – was just put into service in mid-August.
In a video posted to Facebook by a passenger on the previous night’s flight, a fellow passenger appears to complain about being stuck on the tarmac while waiting for crews to complete repairs. The passengers ask for prayers to make it back to Jakarta safely, CBS News reported.
On Instagram, two other passengers on the flight reported that they complained of problems with the air conditioning and cabin lighting before the plane took off nearly three hours late, according to Channel News Asia.
Lion Air CEO Edward Sirait said after the crash that the plane experienced a “technical problem” on its Bali to Jakarta run the previous night but added that it had been fully resolved “according to procedure.” Chicago-based Boeing is providing technical assistance to Lion Air and Indonesian authorities investigating the plane crash.
According to Channel News Asia, pilots on the Bali to Jakarta flight kept the plane at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet, when on the same route earlier in the week the plane flew at 36,000 feet.
On the doomed flight the following day, the first signs of trouble came just two minutes after takeoff when the airplane reached an altitude of 2,000 feet. The airplane descended more than 500 feet and veered to the right before climbing 5,000 feet. It stayed at that approximate altitude for the rest of the 12-minute flight before crashing into the Java Sea.
Two fishermen who witnessed the plane crash from their boat told Reuters that there was no noise coming from the Air Lion plane as it fell until it slammed into the water almost horizontally with its nose slightly down, whereupon there was a loud explosive sound.