Ethiopian plane crash report ready for release soon

Ethiopian Transport minister Dagmawit Moges addresses a press conference on April 4, 2019 in Addis Ababa on the preliminary report on the Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 plane crash. – 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 on April 4. (Photo by MICHAEL TEWELDE / AFP)

Preliminary accident investigation report into the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines recent plane crash has been concluded and set to be released soon.

The Ethiopian foreign ministry though anticipated that the much-awaited report would be made public on Monday, but later left the release date open after Monday rolled by without the report.

A total of 157 persons, among them two Nigerians, died over three weeks ago when a B737Max aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after take-off from Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Airlines’ tragedy comes after a Lion Air flight went down over the Java Sea in late October, killing all 189 people on board.

The twin accidents, which already suggested a connection, has attracted international concerns over the safety of B737Max model and forced the aircraft to be ground in over 41 countries, including the United States.

The preliminary report will be closely examined for clues to any similarities between the March 10 accident and a Lion Air crash in October 2018.

The stakes are high, with Boeing trying to hold on to nearly 5,000 Max 737 orders; air safety regulators facing questions over their scrutiny of the aircraft; and airlines and victims’ families looking for answers – and potentially compensation.

Liability claims related to the Ethiopian crash and 737 Max grounding could be the largest aviation reinsurance claim outside of war on record, broker Willis Re said on Monday.

Separately, Norwegian Air said its chief executive, Bjoern Kjos, would travel to meet Boeing in Seattle next week.

Norwegian, which has 18 737 MAX 8 in its fleet and is scheduled to take delivery of dozens more in the coming months and years, said last month it would seek compensation from Boeing over the grounding.

Flight 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed six minutes after take-off. Citizens of more than 30 nations were on board.

Experts hinted that an anti-stall system at the centre of a probe into the Lion Air 737Max crash was also at play in the Ethiopian accident.

Data pulled from the Ethiopian Airlines flight recorder suggests the so-called MCAS system, which pushes the nose of the jet downwards, had been activated before the plane plunged to the ground, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the interim official report.

That was the second related piece of evidence to emerge from the black boxes of the Ethiopian flight after an initial sample of data recovered by investigators in Paris suggested similar “angle of attack” readings to the Lion Air crash.

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