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Pilot training blamed for Bali airliner crash

By CNN Staff
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 0519 GMT (1319 HKT)
Rescuers and investigation officials inspect the wreckage of the Lion Air 737-800 in the days after the April crash.
Rescuers and investigation officials inspect the wreckage of the Lion Air 737-800 in the days after the April crash.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Preliminary report did not outline cause of the Bali crash
  • Issued several safety recommendations to Lion Air around pilot training
  • Plane missed runway, landed in water in April

(CNN) -- A preliminary investigation report into last month's Lion Air crash into the sea off Bali has called on the budget carrier to implement several safety and pilot training recommendations.

The report by Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee found the 24-year-old co-pilot, with 1,200 hours flying experience, could not see the runway upon approach and handed controls to the pilot at an altitude of 150 feet (45 meters) moments before the crash.

The plane, a Boeing 737-800 manufactured in February and only used by Lion Air since March, was found to be airworthy and had only 142 hours of flying time.

Plane misses runway

It missed the runway, landing on the sea just off Bali's international airport on April 13. The plane was carrying 101 passengers and seven flight crew. All were evacuated and four passengers were treated for serious injuries.

READ: Passengers escape water landing

The committee's report issued safety recommendations to the airline in order to ensure pilots were trained to follow correct procedure in handing over flight controls during critical moments and times. It also called on the airline to "review the policy and procedures regarding the risk associated with changeover of control at critical altitudes or critical times."

The altitude at which the co-pilot handed control of the plane to his colleague was below the minimum altitude considered safe to continue final descent.

The preliminary report did not indicate the exact cause of the crash, stating that the plane had maintained a constant course.

The airline, which operates under the official name Lion Mentari, is banned from European airspace due to safety concerns, according to the European Union.

Lion Air was a domestic airline virtually unknown outside of the archipelago nation of 6,000 inhabited islands until it struck two of the world's biggest ever aircraft orders.

In late 2011, Boeing made its largest single aviation sale -- 230 planes totaling $21.7 billion -- to Lion Air. In March this year it inked a deal with Airbus for 234 planes, totaling $24 billion.

Lion Air first took to the skies in 2000.

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