Crashed passenger jet’s throttles showed ‘anomaly’

JAKARTA (AFP) – A crashed Indonesian passenger jet’s throttles showed an “anomaly” and had been repaired several times before the deadly accident, but the exact cause of last month’s fatal dive was still unclear, investigators said yesterday.

A potential malfunction in the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500’s engine control system was highlighted in a preliminary report on the January 9 crash which killed all 62 passengers and crew, including nearly a dozen children.

The 26-year-old plane – previously flown by United States (US)-based Continental Airlines and United Airlines – plunged around 3,000 metres and crashed into waters off Jakarta just minutes after takeoff.

Yesterday, investigators said they were probing the autothrottle system as they published their interim report.

“The left (engine throttle) was moving backward too far while the right one was not moving at all – it was stuck,” said National Transportation Safety Committee investigator Nurcahyo Utomo.

“But what would have caused this anomaly? We can’t conclude anything just yet.”