China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ground Boeing planes after crash

China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ground Boeing planes after crash

BEIJING- Reuters
China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ground Boeing planes after crash

China, Indonesia and Ethiopia grounded their Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 fleets on March 11 while investigators found the black box from a crash that killed 157 people in the second disaster involving that airplane model in the last six months.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa on March 10, killing all on board.

The victims came from 33 nations and included 22 United Nations' staff.

The discovery of the black box, reported by Ethiopian state TV, may shed light on the cause, though there was no immediate indication if it was the flight data or cockpit voice recorder.

At the scene, men in Red Cross jackets picked through the dirt, putting items in black paper bags, while investigators hunted for the black box voice recorders.

"Although we don't yet know the cause of the crash, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution," Ethiopian Airlines said. It has four other 737 MAX 8 jets, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

China on March 11 also ordered its airlines to suspend operations of their 737 MAX 8 jets by 6 p.m. (10:00 GMT) following the crash, the second of a Boeing 737 MAX jet since one run by Indonesia's Lion Air crashed in October.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said it would notify airlines when they could resume flying the jets, after contacting Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity," the CAAC said, adding the step was in line with its principle of zero tolerance of safety hazards. The 737 MAX 8 is sometimes referred to as the 737-8.

Indonesia also said on March 11it was grounding its Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets.

"The Director General of Air Transport will take steps to carry out inspections and temporarily prohibit Boeing 737 Max 8 from flying in Indonesia," Director General of Air Transport Polana Pramesti told reporters in Jakarta.

A senior U.S. government official said it was too early to tell if there was any direct connection between the two accidents, but that reviewing the issue would be among the top priorities for investigators.

The 737 is the world's bestselling modern passenger aircraft.

Shares of Boeing Co. slid almost 10 percent in early trading on March 11 after the airlines grounded their jets.