Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

By Joshua Berlinger, Eric Levenson, Rob Picheta, Euan McKirdy, Jessie Yeung and Meg Wagner, CNN
9:41 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019
9:41 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

You can continue following our live coverage on the Ethiopia Airlines crash here.

8:00 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Hundreds of locals surround remote crash site

From CNN's Ingrid Formanek and David McKenzie

Several dozen investigators remain on the scene.

The crash site is still being combed for identification, debris and remains on Tuesday. Forensic investigators and Ethiopian Airlines employees are preparing to slowly walk through the site to search for evidence that has gone unnoticed, raising their hands when they come across anything significant.

Several dozen workers from multiple teams are on site, with most wearing surgical masks and some in white forensic suits.

Debris from the Boeing 737 jet has been broken into hundreds of small pieces, making the task of recovering each part complex. The largest engine piece on the site was around the size of a small table.

The plane went down in a remote area about a two hours' drive from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Fields of maze and teff - a staple grass native to Ethiopia - surround the site, where no electricity and very little water is available.

But residents of local villages continue to travel to the scene. Around 200 surround the perimeter today, which is guarded by federal police and a militia.

6:58 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

California brothers were on one last trip before one of them became a dad

A community in California is remembering two brothers who died in Sunday's crash.

Mel and Bennett Riffel, from Redding, north of Sacramento, were embarking on one final adventure before Mel became a dad. His daughter is due to be born in May.

Parishioners of St. Joseph Church and School have been placing flowers at the base of a bell tower, CNN affiliate KRCR reported. The brothers attended the elementary school and their mother is the parish secretary, according to KRCR.

"People are offering prayer, offering [the parents] help, anything, anything," the church's pastor, Father Fred Gucor, told the news station. He said the community is being "very supportive."

Mel and Bennett were the only children of Ike and Susan Riffel. "We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from the community," the parents said through a spokesperson, according to KRCR. "We ask for continued prayers."

6:13 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Crash site quiet on Tuesday morning

From CNN's Ingrid Formanek in Ethiopia

The scene at the crash site on Tuesday morning.

After the vital discovery of the flight's black box and cockpit voice recorder yesterday, the crash scene - around a two hours' drive from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa - is quieter on Tuesday.

Search teams are still scouting the site on foot, picking up items of debris manually. The crews include Red Cross personnel, a team wearing Ethiopian Airlines caps, and others in reflective yellow vests.

But there are no diggers and larger machinery operating on the site, and the flurry of activity seen around the large crater left by the crash has dissipated.

A team from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is set to arrive at the scene today, and Boeing earlier announced that it is sending a technical team to site to provide assistance.

6:24 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

355 Boeing 737 MAX 8s were supposed to fly in China on Monday

From CNN's Serenitie Wang in Beijing

China was one of the first countries to ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets on Monday following the crash in Ethiopia that killed everyone on board, but it's unclear how the ruling has affected air travel inside the country.

According to Chinese flight tracker VariFlight, 355 routes inside China were supposed to be flown by 737 MAX 8s. Of those, 288 flights were flown by different aircraft, 62 were canceled and 145 delayed. Most passengers were flown on the Boeing 737-800s instead of the 737 MAX 8.

Five 737 MAX 8 jets flew routes early in the morning, indicating they likely took off before the ban was announced.

5:15 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Australia bars 737 MAX jets from entering country

Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has temporarily suspended airlines from flying all Boeing 737 MAX jets to or from Australia.

"This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia," said Shane Carmody CASA CEO.

No Australian airlines fly the 737 MAX, CASA said, but two foreign carriers had previously flown the aircraft into the country -- Singapore's SilkAir and Fiji Airways. SilkAir has been temporarily barred from flying any 737 MAX out of Singapore by the city state's aviation authority. Fiji Airways said Tuesday that it would continue flying its two 737 MAX 8s.

CASA said in a statement it was working with Fiji Airways to minimize disruptions to passengers.

4:30 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Illinois married military dad among those killed in crash

From CNN's Joe Sutton in Atlanta

Antoine Lewis of Illinois was one of the 157 people killed in Sunday's plane crash, his family told CNN affiliate WLS. He had a wife and a 15-year-old son, WLS reports.

Born and raised in Matteson, Illinois, Lewis was one of nine siblings and had joined the military after high school.

The 39-year-old was stationed in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. He had been traveling to Ethiopia for missionary work, Lewis' family told WLS. His father, Rodney Lewis, added that his son had previously been stationed in South Korea.

"He was a military rat, he loved it, he was moving up through the military. He went in as an enlisted man and he got his undergraduate degree and his graduate degree," the elder Lewis said.

4:14 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Hong Kong environmental expert died in plane crash

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Hong Kong citizen Victor Tsang Shing-ngai was one of the passengers killed in the plane crash Sunday, his alma mater the Chinese University of Hong Kong said in a statement.

On his Twitter account, Tsang said "(my) profession is to advance sustainable development. Passion is to go camping with my 2.5-year-old son in our garden." 

Tsang added that he speaks Chinese, English, French and Swahili. On his feed, he also championed gender equality:

Tsang had worked abroad in the nonprofit industry for years, the university said. At the time of his death, he was working for the United Nations in Kenya promoting environmental protection and sustainable development.

"Although he lived overseas for many years, he still cared about his alma mater's affairs. He returned to Hong Kong as a guest lecturer for the University's Global Studies Programme, and shared his views on sustainable development with students. He hoped to increase the level of concern for the environment and create a better future for the next generation. Mr. Tsang’s enthusiasm for promoting sustainable development was truly admirable."
3:58 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

What's happening Tuesday in the aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines crash

Debris lays piled up just outside the impact crater after being gathered by workers during the continuing recovery efforts at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302.

As the investigation into what brought down an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on Sunday continues, a handful of airlines have announced they are grounding their Boeing 737 MAX 8s -- the type of jet that crashed.

Singapore's decision appears to be the most far-reaching so far. The Singaporean aviation authority has temporarily barred all variants of the 737 MAX from entering or leaving the city-state.

Along with Singapore, the following airlines and jurisdictions have announced they are temporarily not using the 737 MAX 8: China, Indonesia, Ethiopian Airlines, Aeromexico, Cayman Airways, South Africa's Comair Airways, South Korea's Eastar Jet and Aerolíneas Argentinas. A running list of airlines and countries that have suspended the use of 787 MAX 8s can be found here.

The news has appeared to affect Boeing's bottom line. The aircraft maker's stock dropped 8% Monday, with investors voicing concerns about the 737 and Boeing's future in China Read more about why the grounding are such a big deal for Boeing here.

Ethiopian Airlines announced the plane's Digital Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder were found Monday. Both are considered important pieces of evidence to help investigators piece together the flight's last moments and explain why it crashed.