The newest version of Boeing’s most popular jet is under scrutiny after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed on March 10, 2019 killing all 157 people on board. It was flying from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa to Nairobi in Kenya and came down 60 km from Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa.
According to the Washington Post, several countries and airlines around the world have since reacted by grounding their fleets of 737 Max 8 aircraft. Ethiopia, China (whose airlines own 96 of such aircraft) and Indonesia, ordered their airlines to ground all 737 Max 8 airliners beginning March 11, 2019.
The 737 Max 8 plane’s first accident came last October when a Lion Air Flight 610 nose-dived into the sea shortly after taking off from the airport in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, killing all 189 people on board. Indonesia’s Transport Ministry responded by grounding all Max 8s operating in the country.
But after inspections were conducted last November, the planes were again declared safe to fly. The latest Ethiopian Airlines accident has again raised the safety of the new plane into question – given that both the Indonesian and Addis Ababa accidents happened soon after takeoff. Moreover, the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 craft was only acquired brand new last year. Meanwhile, flags flew at half-mast on March 11, 2019 as Ethiopia remembered the 157 plane crash victims, who were nationals from 35 nations. Ethiopia’s Parliament declared the day of mourning as flags flew at half-mast. A minute’s silence was also observed at the headquarters of the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Agency reports said search and rescue teams continued retrieving dismembered passenger body parts in a farmland near the town of Bishoftu as the plane’s flight data recorder or black box was found. An Ethiopian Airlines source said it was partially damaged.