Ethiopian crew followed procedures - first official crash report

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 4, 2019 - Duration: 02:19s

Ethiopian crew followed procedures - first official crash report

Ethiopian Airlines pilots followed proper procedures when their Boeing MAX 8 airplane repeatedly nosedived before a March 10 crash that killed 157 people, Ethiopia’s minister of transport said on Thursday as she delivered the first official report on the disaster.

Mia Womersley reports.

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Ethiopian crew followed procedures - first official crash report

A preliminary report into the Ethiopian Airlines crash concludes that the plane repeatedly nose dived before it crashed and has called on Boeing to review the control system of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ETHIOPIAN MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, DAGMAWIT MOGES, SAYING: "It is recommended that the aircraft flight control system, relative to the flight controllability, shall be reviewed by the manufacturer." At a briefing on Thursday (April 4) the Ethiopian minister of transport said the jet was in good condition and airworthy, adding that Flight 302 took off 'normally' at first.

And - in a clear indication of where Ethiopian investigators are focusing most of their attention - the report cleared the pilots of using incorrect procedures when they were unable to control the nosediving plane.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ETHIOPIAN MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, DAGMAWIT MOGES, SAYING: "The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly, provided by the manufacturer, but was not able to control the aircraft." The head of the invesitaging team said he cannot say yet if there is a structural design problem with the jet.

The 737 MAX 8 crashed just six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, in clear conditions.

157 passengers and crew of 37 nationalities were killed.

The March 10 disaster prompted a worldwide grounding of Boeing's best-selling plane and scrutiny of its certification process.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) TOP ETHIOPIAN INVESTIGATOR FROM THE THE ETHIOPIAN CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY'S ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BUREAU, AMYDE AYALEW, SAYING: ''The question is that: is there a structure and design problem?

No, we cannot predict right now.

As we say, that this investigation will process to the nearest one year or six years, (corrects himself) six months." At the centre of the investigation from the start: the jet's anti-stall software.

A report into the Lion Air disaster in Indonesia in October - also involving a 737 MAX 8 plane - said the pilots lost control after grappling with the system.

One Wednesday (April 3), Boeing said it successfully tested an update of the MCAS anti-stall software.

The company's CEO Dennis Muilenburg joined a test flight where the software, quote, "worked as designed." The 737 MAX is Boeing's top-selling jet, with almost 5,000 on order.

Ethiopian Airlines is also in the midst of an expansion drive, while other 737 MAX customers and victims' families want answers, and potentially compensation.

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