JAKARTA - An Indonesian Lion Air jet that plunged into the Java Sea last week, killing all 189 on board, had an airspeed indicator problem on its fatal flight and on three previous journeys, the country's transportation watchdog said on Monday.
The new details -- gleaned from a recovered flight data recorder -- come after the government said it was launching a "special audit" of the budget carrier's operations.
A week after the disaster, there is still no answer as to what caused the crash.
Lion -- long been dogged by safety problems -- has said the Boeing 737-Max 8 suffered a technical issue on the flight just prior to its deadly crash Monday and that it was fixed.
But the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) said Monday that the black box data showed the plane had an airspeed indicator issue on at least two other earlier flights.
"There were four flights in all that suffered a problem with the airspeed indicator," NTSC head Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters.
"When there was a problem, the pilot would write it down and the mechanic would do (a repair)...Then the plane would be declared airworthy."
The agency said it would probe what caused the indicator problem and whether proper repairs were done -- including replacing the faulty component, he added.
It did not give more details and did not speculate on how the indicator problem may have played a role in the crash, as it continues to mine the flight recorder -- seen as key to answering why a nearly brand new plane fell out of the sky.