Addis Ababa: A preliminary report into the crash of a Boeing 737 Max in which 157 people died will be ready on Monday, the Ethiopian foreign ministry said.[contfnewc]
No details were provided about exactly when the report would be released, or what it might contain.
Foreign ministry spokesman Nebiat Getachew said the transport ministry would release “a preliminary report into its investigation” of the March 10 tragedy in which a Boeing 737 Max plane crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa.
The Boeing, which was operated by Ethiopian Airlines, was a 737 MAX 8 — the same model which crashed in October, killing 189 people on board an Indonesian Lion Air flight, prompting the aircraft to be grounded worldwide.
It was also not clear if the preliminary report would be made public straight away, or if it would first be handed to the authorities, including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The plane’s black boxes were handed to France’s BEA air safety agency, which is working with American and Ethiopian investigators to determine what went wrong.
Families in 35 nations were left bereaved when the plane went down just minutes after takeoff from the highland capital on a flight south to neighbouring Kenya, crashing into a field.
A source with knowledge of the investigation has said an anti-stall system, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), was activated shortly before the crash.
Boeing designed the MCAS system — which lowers the aircraft’s nose if it detects a stall or loss of airspeed — for this particular model.
The same system was implicated in the October crash of a 737 MAX 8 off Indonesia, with initial investigations finding that a sensor on the plane had transmitted incorrect information to the MCAS system.
The pilots of Lion Air Flight 610 struggled to control the aircraft as the automated MCAS system repeatedly pushed the plane’s nose down following takeoff, according to the flight data recorder.
The pilot had tried repeatedly to regain control and pull the nose up but the plane crashed into the sea.
Both the planes in Indonesia and in Ethiopia reportedly experienced erratic steep climbs and descents as well as fluctuating airspeeds before crashing shortly after takeoff.
The two crashes have been a major blow for Boeing, triggering the US manufacturer’s biggest crisis in decades as the MAX 8 was grounded worldwide.
Ethiopia has already said there were “clear similarities” between the two Max 8 crashes.
Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s largest carrier and in many ways the international face of the nation.[contfnewc]