The pilots radioed a request to return to Jakarta to land, but never turned back towards the airport, according to Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee and flight-track data.
Tjahjono said that Indonesian investigators, Boeing, and the US National Transportation Safety Board would inspect Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in light of the airspeed indicator problem.
Committee head Soerjanto Tjahjono and investigator Nurcahyo Utomo told a news conference that the problem was similar on each of the four flights, including the one on October 29 that killed all 189 people on board.
"As an initial step we conducted ramp checks for 11 Boeing 737 Max 8", said transport minister Sumadi, adding that authorities were also conducting a special audit to include operating procedures and crew qualifications.
Boeing, the manufacturer of the 737 MAX 8, and U.S. aviation investigators at the NTSB have been working with Indonesian experts on the analysis of the flight data recorder in Indonesia.
Problems with the plane's last flight before the crash, from Denpasar on Bali to Jakarta, were widely reported.
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On that flight the aircraft had erratic speed and altitude changes for about 10 seconds before the 737 stabilised. "That happened several times during the flight", he said.
An area that investigators will want to explore is how Lion Air addressed a recurring problem on the plane. Lion Air said Monday that almost 70 ships have been deployed in the search, with more than 1,000 people involved.
Black box data recovered from the crashed Lion Air jet showed the plane had an airspeed indicator problem on its four flights.
Divers have recovered one of Lion Air Flight 610′s two black boxes, the flight data recorder. "These are the things we are trying to find out: what was the damage and how it was fixed".
Data from the black box of the Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea with 189 people onboard has offered a clue about what went wrong by confirming an issue with the plane's airspeed indicator.
The plane was only a few months old and had logged a total of 19 flights and 800 flying hours.
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Victims' relatives are still waiting to receive the remains of loved ones.
Lion Air confirmed to CNN that the same aircraft was used on that route, and Indonesian authorities confirmed that the pilot on the flight reported a problem with one of the plane's instruments.
After 10 minutes in the air, the plane dropped as it lost power.
Families of victims of Lion Air flight JT610 attend a meeting with authorities and Lion Air management on Monday in Jakarta, Indonesia.
In addition, aviation regulators such as the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency often follow such actions by mandating that carriers follow the bulletins.
Tjahjono said the large amount of small debris and the relatively small area the debris was found in showed the plane hit the water at a very high speed.
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Tjahjono said Flight 610 was intact with its engines running when it slammed into the sea 13 minutes after takeoff.