What we do and don’t know about the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash
|Toronto Star 13 Mar 2019 at 04:52|
Eighteen Canadians died Sunday when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 aboard. Here’s what we do and don’t know about the crash:
A foreign delegation visits the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Tuesday. All 157 passengers and crew perished after the plane crashed six minutes after taking off from Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. (Jemal Countess / GETTY IMAGES)
Ethiopian Airlines confirmed all 157 people — 149 passengers and eight crew on board — were killed when the plane crashed six minutes after takeoff from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday. Eighteen of those victims were Canadian citizens, although several others were foreign nationals living in Canada.
It is not yet known what caused the plane to go down in clear weather shortly after departing Bole Airport on its way to Nairobi, the capital of neighbouring Kenya. The airline said it would be investigating the cause of the accident.
Before the crash, the plane’s pilot sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return to the airport in Addis Ababa, the airline’s CEO said.
The airline confirmed that the plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8 model, a plane that has been commonly used since it came on the market in 2017.
‘Forcing passengers to fly’ on Boeing 737 Max 8 ‘unethical,’ passenger advocate says
We’ve seen this before
The accident was similar to Lion Air jet crash that plunged into the Java Sea, killing 189 people just six months ago. Both crashes involved the Boeing 737 Max 8, and both happened minutes after the jets became airborne.
The Canadians who were hurt
By Tuesday, much of the world, including the entire European Union, grounded the Boeing jetliner involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash or banned it from their airspace, leaving the Canada and the United States as two of the few remaining operators of the plane involved in two deadly accidents in six months.
So far, Canada has no official plans to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 planes. Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters in Montreal on Tuesday that Canada was still gathering information and had no immediate plans to ground the Boeing airliner. Canada’s airlines confirmed they were still flying the Max 8 aircraft Tuesday afternoon.
Air Canada operates 24 of the Boeing 737 Max planes, while WestJet has 13, and Sunwing four.
Tuesday evening, Sunwing Airlines released a statement saying it was temporarily suspending the operations of its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
“We are in the process of revising our flying schedule to accommodate the temporary removal of our MAX aircraft from service,” the statement read.
According to a third-party flight tracking site, Air Canada had 49 flights using the 737 Max 8 scheduled on Wednesday, while WestJet had 38. As of Tuesday, the companies hadn’t committed to waiving change or cancellation fees for customers worried about flying on the 737 Max.
China’s civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes following the crash, amid safety concerns because of its resemblance to the Indonesian crash in October of last year. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the order took effect at 6 p.m. on Monday.
The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration said it was continuing to review the Max 8 aircraft, but that it wouldn’t be grounding flights anytime soon.
“Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” the statement read.