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Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The day before a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft plunged into the Java Sea, killing all 189 aboard, an off-duty pilot riding in the flight deck jumpseat of the same aircraft played a pivotal role in averting a similar crash, Bloomberg reports. On the flight that landed safely, the third pilot helped disable a malfunctioning flight-control system using an available checklist and saved the plane from crashing,

Details: The pilot disabled the plane's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) from forcing the aircraft's nose down toward the ground, according to sources familiar who spoke with Bloomberg. The report adds that according to the Indonesia safety committee report, the plane had "multiple failures on previous flights and hadn't been properly repaired." One of the failures, it is widely thought, was a malfunctioning angle of attack sensor that was feeding erroneous information to the software system.

Our thought bubble: Per Axios' Andrew Freedman: This story makes it more clear that Lion Air should not have flown the plane on the day of the crash without maintenance first, since a previous flight hit such a severe problem. It also shows that not all pilots in a flight deck would correctly diagnosed what the MCAS system was doing and how to shut it off. However, the presence of a third pilot in the flight deck is not unusual, as that routinely occurs when pilots are commuting and flights are full. However, it's extremely rare that an off duty pilot plays such a pivotal role in preventing an accident.

Go deeper: Transportation secretary asks for internal probe of Boeing certification

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.