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Probe result shows crashed Ethiopian plane pilots followed required Boeing procedures

Christian Fernsby |
Preliminary investigation results on doomed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane discovered that the pilots followed Boeing required procedures, but could not control the flight, the Ethiopian government said on Thursday.

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The Nairobi-bound Ethiopian airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed near Bishoftu town, about 45 km from the capital, Addis Ababa, just minutes after takeoff from Bole International Airport, killing all 157 people aboard.

"Based on the initial findings of the investigation the crew repeatedly performed all the procedures provided by the manufacturer, but was not able to control the aircraft," Ethiopian Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges told reporters here on Thursday.

The minister also noted that preliminary investigation results also revealed the doomed aircraft "possessed a valid certificate of airworthiness, and the crew obtained the license and qualification to conduct the flight."

She also revealed that "the take-off role appeared very normal."

According to Moges, two safety recommendations have been forwarded based on the initial information gathered during the course of the preliminary investigation.

"Since repetitive un-commanded aircraft nose-down conditions are noticed in this preliminary investigation, it is recommended that the aircraft control system related to the flight controllability shall be reviewed by the manufacturer," the Ethiopian transport minister said.

Moges also stressed that "aviation authorities shall verify that the review of the aircraft flight control system related to flight controllability has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before they release the aircraft to operations."

The preliminary investigation report was made on the basis of the data from the recorders of the doomed Boeing 737 Max 8.

Both the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), which were extracted from the crashed plane, were sent to Paris, France for investigation together with an Ethiopian delegation led by Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

A wave of countries, including notably the United States, have grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft amid mounting safety concerns following the second crash of the same model in less than five months.

In October last year, a Lion Air flight of the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.

The French air accident authority BEA, which is investigating the crashed plane's black boxes, also recently revealed that it had found "clear similarities" between the doomed jet and the Lion Air flight.

The 157 people aboard ET 302 included nationals from more than 30 countries, including 32 from Kenya, 18 from Canada, eight each from China, Italy and the United States, seven each from Britain and France, six from Egypt, among others.

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