Ethiopian Airlines plane crash
Gebeyehu Fikadu, an eyewitness to Sunday's fatal crash about two-hour drive south of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, told CNN that the plane was "swerving and dipping" and belching smoke as it came down.
"I was in the mountain nearby when I saw the plane reach the mountain before turning around with a lot of smoke coming from the back and then crashed at this site," said the 25-year-old, who was collecting firewood on the mountain with three other locals when it happened.
"It crashed with a large boom. When it crashed luggage and clothes came burning down.
"Before it crashed the plane was swerving and dipping with a lot of smoke coming from the back and also making a very loud unpleasant sound before hitting the ground."
All 157 people on board the flight died in the accident.
Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Transport James Macharia and Ethiopian Airlines' Kenya country manager, Yilma Goshu, held a press conference at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi.
The two officials said that the focus now would be on conducting the "investigation in line with international standards" and on "comforting and counselling relatives, friends and family" of passengers on board the flight. So far they managed to contact 25 families, they confirmed.
Goshu said that relatives of the victims who wished to travel to Addis would be assisted, and the government would provide accommodation and updates to the investigation.
He added that Ethiopian Airlines had grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet, "as a precautionary safety measure. He noted that the decision to "suspend the planes from service" did not mean that the incident was related to "defects with (this) specific fleet."
SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, will continue to use its six Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. The airline plans to proceed with an order of 31 planes, according to a statement sent to CNN.
“We are currently monitoring the situation closely and at this point our Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft are continuing to operate as scheduled," the statement reads.
Boeing's bestselling passenger jet is facing increased scrutiny after being involved in a second deadly crash in less than six months, threatening to tarnish the US plane maker's reputation for safety.
The Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed Sunday and the Lion Air flight that crashed in October were brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. And both crashed minutes into flight.
"A formal investigation will need to be conducted into this new crash. It's important not to speculate as to its causes. A final, conclusive report has yet to be issued in the case of the Lion crash," said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at aviation research firm FlightGlobal.
"That said, having two crashes of a brand new type in a short time is an unprecedented state of events," he added. "It is inevitable that this will affect perceptions about the 737 MAX family."
In addition to Ethiopian Airlines' decision to suspend its MAX 8 fleet from flying service, and China's civil aviation authority's blanket ban on the model being used, Cayman Airways has announced that it would ground its MAX 8 jets.
The airline is working with both Boeing and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) to "monitor the investigation" unfolding in Ethiopia, the Caribbean island-based airline's President and CEO Fabian Whorms said in a statement.
"While the cause of this sad loss is undetermined at this time, we stand by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations, and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, effective from Monday March 11, 2019, until more information is received," Whorms said.
The 737 MAX series is the fastest-selling aircraft in the company's history, according to Boeing, with 4,700 orders from 100 customers.
The MAX 8 and 9 are already in service. They will be joined by the MAX 7 later this year and the MAX 10 in 2020. It was a MAX 8 that crashed on Sunday outside the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The planes can seat 138 to 204 passengers, depending on the model and seat configuration.
"Airlines are taking advantage of the MAX's incredible range and flexibility, offering passengers connections to smaller cities around the globe including transatlantic and trans-continental routes," the Boeing corporate website says.
The MAXs, with their distinctive forked "winglets," are in use across the globe including by multiple flag carriers.
Nigerian-Canadian Professor Pius Adesanmi has been identified as a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crash, the Nigerian government said.
Laolu Akande, a special assistant to the Nigerian vice president, tweeted:
In 2014, Adesanmi wrote for CNN Opinion about how the telling of Africa's story should include the voices of its diaspora.