Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 crew followed procedures: Official report
Investigators' report shows crew were unable to regain control of jet
ADDIS ABABA The crew of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed last month killing 157 people, repeatedly followed procedures recommended by Boeing, but were unable to regain control of the jet, according the investigators' report released yesterday.
The initial report, unveiled by Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges, cast further doubt on the system controlling the Boeing 737 Max 8 model, which has been grounded worldwide for almost a month.
"The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer, but was not able to control the aircraft," said Ms Dagmawit, unveiling results of the preliminary probe into the crash.
The report recommends "the aircraft flight control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer", she said.
"Aviation authorities shall verify that the review of the aircraft flight control system has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before the release of the aircraft for operations," she added.
The release of the report came after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Wednesday it is forming an international team to review the safety of the now-grounded Boeing 737 Max that will be headed by a formal top US safety official.
The FAA said it is establishing a Joint Authorities Technical Review "to ensure the safety of the Boeing 737 Max" and scrutinise the anti-stall software that has been questioned in two fatal crashes since October.
The Ethiopian Airlines flight was headed for Nairobi on a clear morning on March 10 when it plummeted nose-first into a field outside Addis Ababa just minutes after take-off.
Citizens from over 30 countries were on board.
Similarities quickly emerged between the crash and that of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 Max 8 flight in October last year which killed 189 people.
Scrutiny has centred on an anti-stall system, developed specifically for the latest versions of the planes, that has given pilots problems.
The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) is designed to automatically lower the aircraft's nose if it detects a stall or loss of airspeed.
Boeing issued a bulletin reminding operators of emergency guidelines to override the anti-stall system after the Lion Air crash.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that pilots had shut off the anti-stall system, but switched it back on because they could not regain control, citing people briefed on the preliminary findings.
The head of the Ethiopian investigation, Mr Amdiye Ayalew, said the full probe would take six months to a year, but that there had been no sign of "foreign object damage" to the aircraft.
"Within this one year we'll analyse whether other problems are existing on this aircraft," he said. - AFP, REUTERS
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