Aviation

Ethiopia crash update: Black box found as airlines ground Boeing 737 Max 8s

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

The black box and cockpit voice recorder of the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed over the weekend have been found.

Flight ET302 travelling from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed into farmlands near Tulu Fara Village outside of Bishoftu just six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people onboard.

The aircraft model was the same as type as the Lion Air flight which crashed into the Java sea in October, also killing everyone onboard, the Boeing 737 Max 8.

Boeing has since released a statement extending their “heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board”, adding they stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team.

“A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.”

Former inspector general of the US transportation department, Mary Schiavo told CNN the latest crash was “highly suspicious” and “rings alarm bells in the aviation industry because that just doesn’t happen”.

Schiavo said Boeing should tell airlines to ground the model.

Ethiopian Airlines has said in a statement it has decided to ground all 737 Max 8s in its fleet until further notice, effective immediately.

“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution,” the airline said.

China and Indonesia have also instructed their respective carriers to temporarily cease operation of the Max 8.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has issued a “continued airworthiness notification” for the Max 8, advising that immediate and appropriate action would be taken if any issue is identified, according to the Guardian.

The Guardian also reported there are more than 300 Max 8s in operation and more than 5,000 have been ordered since 2017.

Virgin Australia has ordered 30 of the planes and told News Limited it’s too early to comment on whether they will pull their order.

However, Captain John Lyons, president of the Virgin Independent Pilots Association (VIPA) also told News Limited he has the “utmost confidence” in the Max 8.

“VIPA continues to have the utmost confidence in the Boeing 737 and the rigorous training that Virgin Australia provides its pilots,” he said.

“We look forward to its introduction at Virgin Australia as it brings outstanding commercial advantages to the airline and enhanced customer appeal.”

Featured image credit: AFP/Getty

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