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Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi crashes, deaths reported

The Boeing 737 crashed en route to Nairobi, six minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.

 

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi with 149 passengers and eight crew believed to be on board, Ethiopian Airlines said.

Ethiopia's prime minister offered condolences to victims' families.

"We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident today," the airline said in a statement on Sunday.

"It is believed that there were 149 passengers and eight crew on board the flight but we are currently confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight," according to the statement.

The airline said "search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties."

306cb8e087374d4baf4b72039094ab28_7.jpg
 

The plane took off at 8:38am (06:38 GMT) from Bole International Airport and "lost contact" six minutes later near Bishoftu, a town about 60km southeast of Addis Ababa by road.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office tweeted it "would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning."

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta offered prayers for the family members and loved-ones of those on the plane.

"We are saddened by the news of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger aircraft that is reported to have crashed 6 minutes after takeoff en route to Kenya. My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board," Kenyatta said in Twitter.

Ethiopian Airlines said it would send staff to the accident scene to "do everything possible to assist the emergency services".

It would also set up a passenger information centre and a dedicated telephone number for family and friends of people who may have been on the flight.

The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was a Boeing 737-800 that exploded after taking off from Lebanon in 2010, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.

Boeing Airlpanes said on its Twitter account that it was aware of the reports about Sunday's accident and was "closely monitoring the situation".

'Brand new aircraft'

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Malaga, Spain, aviation analyst Alex Macheras explained that the 737 MAX is the brand new updated version of the Boeing 737.

"The MAX is in service all around the world. Airlines such as the Ethiopian Airlines are using this aircraft, as it is the latest, the most fuel-efficient, short-range Boeing aircraft on the market.

"The aircraft that has been involved in the accident today is less than four months old. It was delivered to Ethiopia in mid-November, when it flew from the US, made a fuel stop in Ireland, and was delivered to Addis Ababa, which is hub of the Ethiopian Airlines.

Macheras said new aircraft "do have their hiccups" but that is not to say they are unsafe or more prone to being involved in accidents.

"There are certain advisories for lots of new aircrafts and that's perfectly normal as they enter the market place," he added.

The Boeing 737 MAX was initiated in response to Airbus's A320 Neo. Both planes feature modifications to make the aircraft more fuel-efficient.

"It's a very safe aircraft," Macheras said, "but of course this accident will send jitters across the industry."

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/ethiopian-airlines-flight-nairobi-crashes-deaths-reported-190310082515738.html?fbclid=IwAR0q8GlbykjkowvGPIIxciOaH00GY9_0dNFltpUUXrnr54K6iJJzM515r04

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Update from the BBC  https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-africa-47513534

Ethiopian Airlines flight crashes, all 157 on board killed, including 18 Canadians

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 jet bound for Nairobi crashed shortly after takeoff early Sunday, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members on board, the airline said.

Plane bound for Nairobi went down minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa

Thomson Reuters · Posted: Mar 10, 2019 5:35 AM ET | Last Updated: 11 minutes ago

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 jet bound for Nairobi crashed shortly after takeoff early Sunday, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members on board, the airline said.

Ethiopian Airlines said those killed included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Americans, eight Chinese and eight Italians. The victims were from more than 30 countries, including India, Britain, the Netherlands, France, Egypt, Russia and Israel.

Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, the airline said, confirming the plane was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, registration number ET-AVJ.

 

The flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8:38 a.m. local time, before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8:44 a.m.

 

Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline's chief executive officer, said the pilot reported difficulties and asked for permission to turn back.

The prime minister's office sent condolences via Twitter to the families of those lost in the crash, without offering further details.

ethiopia-airplane.jpgThe plane crashed near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa. (Tiksa Negeri/Reuters )

State-owned Ethiopian is one of the biggest carriers on the continent by fleet size. It said previously that it expected to carry 10.6 million passengers last year.

Its last major crash was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut went down shortly after takeoff.

Records show that the Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane that crashed on Sunday was a new one.

ethiopia-airlines-crash-2019.jpg

The Planespotters civil aviation database shows the Boeing 737-8 MAX was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in mid-November.

The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.

 

Last October, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane operated by Lion Air crashed shortly after departing from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. Lion Air had received the plane in August 2018.

This relatively new 737 MAX 8 is the latest version of Boeing's workhorse, narrow-body jet that first entered service in 2017.

"It's the latest iteration of the 737 line, which has been flying for many, many years, and has developed and gotten bigger with a longer range and more capacity," said Keith Mackey, a former airline pilot and president of a Florida-based aviation consultant firm.

"It's the latest and greatest version of the 737, and there's no reason to believe that there is anything wrong with the basic airplane that might have caused this," Mackey told CBC News.

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Another link with more details.

https://www.thesouthafrican.com/ethiopian-airlines-flight-et-302-crash-death-toll-details/?fbclid=IwAR0DZBSNK9-H2h-pYz7AnCnprelcYydctOyd-7SG06v4SmgFv89iU7-uebc

 

Also: on Avherald.  http://avherald.com/h?article=4c534c4a&opt=0

 

and from another source it appears that there were 18 Canadians on board.

Casualty nationalities ex- BBC Africa service et al

32 Kenyan, 18 Canadian, 9 Ethiopian, 8 Chinese, 8 Italian, 8 American, 7 French, 7 British, 6 Egyptian, 5 Dutch, 4 UN passports, 4 Indian, 3 Russian, 2 Moroccan,

2 Israeli, 1 Belgian, 1 Ugandan, 1 Yemeni, 1 Sudanese, 1 Togolese, 1 Mozambican, 1 Norwegian

https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-africa-47513534


"'Captain wanted to return' The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde Gebremariam is speaking at a press conference. He said the captain of the crashed plane had told controllers at Bole airport that he was having difficulty and wanted to return, and that he had been given clearance. He also said that the plane had arrived on Sunday morning from South Africa. [The] plane had more than three hours of ground time after coming from South Africa, it arrived with no remark and was dispatched with no remark. Mr Tewolde said smoke was still smouldering at the crash site when he visited."

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Erratic vertical speed changes almost immediately after lift off. Pitch control issues? Load out of balance? Incorrect stab trim setting? MCAS?

Is MCAS disabled below a certain RA?

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1 hour ago, Don Hudson said:

MCAS is not engaged when the flaps are extended.

So when the flaps/slats are set to zero MCAS goes active if in Manual flight?

In Auto flight, the A/P would be trimming the stabilizer to pitch control (elevator) input neutral.

In either case, if the stab trim is running you certainly know it (stab trim wheels).

Another forum describes the crew experience level. Appears could be low total experience on the 737. This was also a take off from a very high altitude airfield.

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2 hours ago, rudder said:

So when the flaps/slats are set to zero MCAS goes active if in Manual flight? 

In Auto flight, the A/P would be trimming the stabilizer to pitch control (elevator) input neutral.

In either case, if the stab trim is running you certainly know it (stab trim wheels).

Another forum describes the crew experience level. Appears could be low total experience on the 737. This was also a take off from a very high altitude airfield.

To your first point, yes, MCAS is engaged once the flaps are retracted. Normally it remains inactive, likely for very long periods as it is designed for approach-to-stall aerodynamic conditions which emerged with slight design changes in engine/wing configuration which in turn invoked certification issues.

A point that was made during discussions on the Lion Air accident was, MCAS activity does not resemble traditional understandings and symptoms of the "runaway stabilizer", so does not attract the same kind of attention or concern, and if the stall warning/stick shaker is going off and the controls are getting heavier at the same time, (as occurred on Lion Air...we don't know anything here, yet), then diagnosis can be fraught with difficulty and confusion as to what drill to call for. Inexperience will obvioiusly increase that confusion.

We'll see on the other items...high-altitude/engine performance & crew experience/background etc.

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From PPRuNe:

“A message recieved from a pilot friend who was at the holding point when the doomed aircraft took off, he says that the takeoff seemed normal but shortly after the aircraft declared an emergency stating unreliable airspeed and difficulty controlling the aircraft.”

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The ADSB data after takeoff show reasonably normal speed/acceleration and altitude/vertical speed readouts until the level-off (flap retract?) phase. After that, illogical descent followed by high climb rate. ADSB data ceases long before end of flight due poor coverage area. Supposedly accident flight was airborne 5-6 minutes.

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Bloomberg reporting, and some evidence to support, that China has grounded the 737Max fleet.

 

Bloomberg, citing Caijing, reports that China has asked domestic operators to ground their 737 MAX aircraft. While we have yet been unable to officially confirm such, this is the number of 737 MAX flights above China now vs. the same time last week. 

https://www.flightradar24.com/36.94,103.39/4 https://twitter.com/flightradar24/status/1104897693149728768/photo/1

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-10/china-asks-local-airlines-to-ground-boeing-737-max-caijing-says

Edited by internet

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Ethiopian Airways has a lot of contract pilots. My experience of the contract pilot world in that part of the world was not stellar.

Just sayin'...

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Moon, apparently the captain had been with Ethiopian for 9 years. Not saying he wasn't contract and though it wouldn't surprise, I can't argue, (edit to add: because I have no experience under those circumstances), with your observation re "not stellar", but that seems like pretty steady work. The F/O reportedly had only 200hrs.

Edited by Don Hudson
  • Thanks 1

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Boeing: Airlines ground 737 Max 8 jets after latest crash

Boeing 737 Max 8Image copyright Getty Images

Several airlines have grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 jets following a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The flight crashed minutes after takeoff on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.

It was the second disaster in five months involving a Boeing 737 Max 8.

Aviation regulators in China and Indonesia have suspended flights using that model. Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways, have also grounded their 737 Max 8 aircraft.

While experts warn it is too early to say what caused the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, it comes after the same model crashed in a flight operated by Lion Air in October.

The plane lost altitude soon after takeoff, killing 189 people on board.

"Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737 Max 8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity," the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement.

The Chinese regulator ordered local carriers to ground all 737 Max 8 flights by 18:00 local time (10:00 GMT).

Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Kumming Airlines, and China Southern Airlines are among the carriers affected. More than 90 Boeing 737 Max 8 models are in use in mainland China.

The Indonesian Transport Ministry said inspections would begin on 12 March of one Garuda Indonesia plane and 10 operated by Lion Air. Planes would be grounded until cleared by safety regulator.

Shares in French aerospace group Safran, which makes the engines for the 737, fell on Monday.

The aircraft is relatively new to the skies, having only been in commercial use since 2017.

 

Boeing said it was "deeply saddened" by the crash and is sending a team to provide technical assistance to the investigation.

The investigation will be led by Ethiopian authorities co-ordinating with teams of experts from Boeing and the US National Transportation Safety Board.

The Indian government said it was discussing the situation with local regulators. Jet Airways and SpiceJet - neither of which made any comment - both use the aircraft.

Which airlines use the 737 Max 8?

According to Boeing's website, 16 airlines have taken delivery of the 737 Max 8. 

TUI Group has 15 in its fleet and said it is in close contact with the manufacturer, but has no plans to take them out of service. It is the only airline to have any such planes registered with the UK's Civil Aviation Authority.

A spokesperson for Flydubai told Reuters the carrier is "monitoring the situation".

Norwegian Airlines, which has 18 in its fleet largely flying between Ireland the US, is continuing to use the planes.

Its director of flight operations said the airline will follow any recommendations from Boeing and aviation authorities. It has three - including one from London Gatwick to Helsinki - in use today.

Singapore's SilkAir said it was in contact with Boeing and all its fights using 737 Max 8 aircraft - of which it has six - are operating as normal, while Air Italy is also operating its planes as normal.

Several North American airlines also operate the aircraft and have said they are monitoring the investigation.

Southwest Airlines flies 34 of the aircraft and said it had been in contact with Boeing and was operating as normal.

American Airlines and Air Canada each have 24 in their fleet.

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Both flight recorders retrieved from Ethiopian 737 crash site

  • 11 March, 2019
  • SOURCE: Flight Dashboard
  • BY: David Kaminski-Morrow
  • London

Recovery personnel have retrieve both flight recorders from the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 which crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa on 10 March.

The airline states that personnel have recovered the cockpit-voice and digital flight-data recorder from the crash site.

It reiterates that the carrier has grounded the remainder of its 737 Max fleet pending clarification over the cause of the accident.

 

None of the 149 passengers and eight crew members survived the crash involving the Nairobi-bound aircraft, which had only been delivered to Ethiopian on 15 November.

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Black box found, data shows Ethiopia flight rapidly ascended and descended repeatedly before crashing

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎11, ‎2019, ‏‎23 minutes ago | Washington Post

When the Ethiopian Airlines flight took off Sunday, trouble appeared to begin almost immediately. The pilots told air traffic controllers that they were experiencing technical problems all while the plane gained and lost altitude repeatedly before taking the final, fatal plunge.

Authorities recovered the black box but it was partially damaged, an airline official said. “We will see what we can retrieve from it.”

Ethiopian Airlines announced Monday it would ground the model aircraft that was involved in a devastating crash that killed everyone on board just minutes after takeoff, following the lead of Chinese aviation authorities.

A national day of mourning has been declared in Ethiopia and investigators are sifting through the crash site to identify remains so they can ultimately be repatriated to the families.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration said in a statement early Monday that it had asked domestic airlines to temporarily ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets before 6 p.m. It was the first time China had taken the lead in ordering a model grounded before other national aviation agencies.

Cayman Airways also suspended the use of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane, the latest version of the industry’s most popular passenger airline.

Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement that the fleet would be grounded “as extra safety precaution.”

The same plane model crashed shortly after takeoff in October in Indonesia, raising concerns about the aircraft. “So there might be a technical issue on this breed of aircraft so even though the investigation is not yet done, we decided to ground them for a while for technical checkup,” airline spokesman Binyamin Demesse said.

gn38899c_en.jpg?w=640&h=850

A graphic showing how the stall feature works on the aircraft and how the Ethiopia Airlines flight lost control.

The company’s chief executive, Tewolde Gebremariam, said Sunday there were six planes in the fleet and initially the decision had been not to suspend them.

That changed following China’s order, which affected hundreds of flights there. Some 13 carriers operate more than 90 of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets, according to domestic media.

“There were certain similarities in the fact that two air crashes were newly delivered Boeing 737-8 aircraft, and they both occurred in the take off phase,” the Chinese agency said in a statement referring to the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. All planes of that model would be grounded until further notice according to Chinese policies allowing “zero tolerance for safety hazards” and risks, the agency said, adding that it would also contact the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing for consultation.

A spokeswoman for Boeing China said the company was staying in touch with all of its customers and government regulators and working closely with the investigation team in Ethiopia to understand the cause of the crash.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed just six minutes after takeoff, killing 149 passengers and eight crew members. In its short flight, data shows the plane ascending then descending and then ascending again sharply while accelerating to speeds in excess of what is standard during a take off.

The pilot asked to return to Addis Ababa because he was experiencing difficulties.

In the case of the Indonesian Lion Air flight, pilots wrestled with the plane because a faulty sensor and automatic feature sent its nose pointing down while the pilots struggled to lift the plane up. They also requested to return to the airport shortly before plunging into the Java Sea.

afp_1eh1hd.jpg?w=640&h=481

People stand near collected debris at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines on March 11, 2019.

The pilot has been identified as Yared Getachew, 28, of Addis Ababa. According to a statement issued by relatives in Northern Virginia, Getachew had 8,000 hours of flight time and was the youngest pilot in Ethiopian Airlines history to captain a Boeing 737.

Half Kenyan and half Ethiopian, Getachew had long requested the Nairobi route so he could visit family. Associates describe him as funny, energetic, charismatic and popular. Though young, he was described by the company as a senior pilot.

The passenger list for the Ethiopian flight included a staggering 35 different nationalities from all over the world, including 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians and eight Americans. Many were involved in humanitarian work and attending a United Nations environmental conference in Nairobi.

Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s largest airline in terms of destinations and passengers served. It has ambitions of serving as the gateway to Africa and is widely seen as one of the best managed airlines on the continent.

It serves more than 100 destinations, including Washington, New York and Chicago.

The airline’s last major crash was in 2010, when an aircraft caught fire and plunged into the Mediterranean after taking off from Beirut’s airport, killing all 90 people on board. Bad weather and a technical fault were cited.

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“The pilot has been identified as Yared Getachew, 28, of Addis Ababa. According to a statement issued by relatives in Northern Virginia, Getachew had 8,000 hours of flight time and was the youngest pilot in Ethiopian Airlines history to captain a Boeing 737.“

 

The total time seems a little high for somebody that age....I know it’s possible but it seems suspect.....even by North American standards.

And a question about the MCAS system....is it possible to deactivate the system wrt to cockpit switches or is it an integral part of the flight control system??  Has the 37 gone fbw or is it still mechanical?

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March 11, 2019 / 7:19 AM / Updated 27 minutes ago

Ethiopian Airlines plane trailed smoke, debris before crash: witnesses

  •  
 
?m=02&d=20190311&t=2&i=1365081729&r=LYNXMPEF2A13P&w=1600
 
Ethiopian Federal policemen stand at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

GARA-BOKKA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - An Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday, killing all 157 people onboard, was trailing smoke and making a strange sound before it came down, two witnesses said.

Malka Galato, the farmer whose land the plane crashed on, told Reuters he saw small items that looked like paper coming from the plane. The plane was making a strange noise and made a sudden turn just before it crashed, he said.

The plane tried to climb before it made a sharp turn and came down, farmer Tamirat Abera added.

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27 minutes ago, st27 said:

And a question about the MCAS system....is it possible to deactivate the system wrt to cockpit switches or is it an integral part of the flight control system??  Has the 37 gone fbw or is it still mechanical?

Pilot input electric trim will counteract/pause the system. 

The stab trim cutout switches will completely disable the system's ability to trim.

Procedure is to disconnect the autopilot if engaged, control and trim the aircraft with the electric trim, and then use the cutout switches. From there manual trim only would be available.

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I guess the only question is "reaction time" , how long to figure out the problem and take the necessary action.  The events leading up to this crash were evidently within 6 mins from takeoff. What is unknown at this time is how long after the problem was reported by the pilot that the aircraft crashed.

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