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Off-duty pilot reportedly prevented a Lion Air Boeing 737 crash

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An off-duty pilot riding in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 Max 8 fixed a malfunction during the second-to-the-last flight for the aircraft before it crashed into the Java Sea the next day, two people with knowledge of the investigation said in a Bloomberg report published Tuesday.

The Lion Air crew members reportedly received the help from the off-duty pilot, who fixed a malfunctioning sensor from an automated system designed to prevent the plane from stalling. The pilot was said to have advised the crew to kill the power to a motor that was pointing the aircraft’s nose downward, Bloomberg reported.

The same plane, with a separate crew, crashed into the Java Sea near Indonesia the next day, on October 29, 2018. All 189 passengers and crew on board were killed.

A Lion Air spokesman did not provide additional comment on Bloomberg’s findings.

“All the data and information that we have on the flight and the aircraft have been submitted to the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee, a spokesperson said to Bloomberg. “We can’t provide additional comment at this stage due the ongoing investigation on the accident.”

The 737 Max’s automated safety feature has been under intense scrutiny following the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crash that killed all 157 passengers on March 10, five months after the Lion Air crash.

As Boeing and aviation authorities investigate the incidents, initial reports suggest that a faulty reading from a sensor could have played a role in both crashes. The reports indicated that the faulty sensor may have triggered the plane’s automated system and pointed the nose downward after taking off.

Following the crash, other countries grounded the 737 Max aircraft, including China, which has the most number of 737s. The US was the last country to ground the plane.

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