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Crash site of an Ethiopian Airlines plane near Bishoftu town| Coastweek

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Crash site of an Ethiopian Airlines plane near Bishoftu town, about 45 km from the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Nairobi-bound Boeing 737-8 MAX crashed on Sunday, just minutes from takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, killing all 157 people aboard. Earlier on Monday, Ethiopian Airlines announced its decision to suspend commercial operations of all Boeing 737-Max 8 aircraft. XINHUA PHOTO - MICHAEL TEWELDE

Plane was swinging widely with smoke coming from its rear end: Eyewitnesses recall horrific aftermath of Ethiopian Airlines crash

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Fanu Getu, an Ethiopian village guard, still shivers when talking about witnessing the horrific aftermath of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane that crashed in his quiet farming village of Ejere, about 70 km east of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed on Sunday morning in the village, leaving all 157 people on board dead. The forceful crash also created a 13 meter-deep crater in the area.

The plane which was travelling from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Kenyan capital Nairobi, crashed barely six minutes after takeoff.

Ethiopian authorities haven’t yet released a final report into what caused the plane crash but have confirmed the pilot of the doomed Boeing 737 Max 8 plane had radioed a distress call.

Speaking to Xinhua, Getu said it was his first time witnessing a plane crash and he was initially unsure about what to do first, but later overcame his shock to help emergency response teams retrieve debris from the destroyed plane.

"I have collected body parts, pieces of the wreckage pieces and passengers’ belongings, which I later handed over to Ethiopian authorities," said Getu.

"I feel a deep sense of sorrow and pain with the plane crash.

"I wish strength and sympathy for victims’ families at this sad moment," Getu said.

Getu wasn’t the only villager shaken by the airplane crash, the worst-ever air disaster for the national air carrier Ethiopian Airlines, which has a relatively good record when it comes to air safety.

Gebeyehu Fekadu, another villager, vividly remembers the events before and after the tragedy on Sunday morning, which he admits will stay with him for the rest of his life.

"The plane was swinging widely with smoke coming from its rear end just before it crashed.

"The force of the crash created a big sandstorm, temporarily obscuring the crash site," recalled Fekadu.

"The plane crash I witnessed on Sunday has made me especially sad," Fekadu said.

With Ethiopia reeling from its worst plane crash in its history, the likes of Fekadu and Getu are hoping such tragedies will no longer happen in the future, and hope the Ethiopian government undertakes an exhaustive investigation into the incident.

The Ethiopian government is already taking preventive measures by announcing on Monday its decision to indefinitely ground all its Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.

Also on Monday, Ethiopian Airlines announced it has found the flight data and voice recorders, potentially helping speed up the process to investigate the cause of the crash.


Boeing to update software in 737 MAX airplane following Ethiopian crash

SAN FRANCISCO United States (Xinhua) -- Top U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing Company said Monday that it is planning to make a safety upgrade to software that is to be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.

Boeing said it is working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop the software enhancement, which the FAA hoped to mandate with an Airworthiness Directive no later than April.

The Boeing announcement came one day after an aircraft of Ethiopian Airlines crashed Sunday morning, killing all 157 passengers and crew members on board a 737 MAX 8 plane.

The plane crash was the second fatal incident involving the same model in five months.

Another Boeing 737 MAX 8, flown by Indonesia’s Lion Air, crashed soon after takeoff from Jakarta in October last year, killing 189 people.

Boeing did not make direct reference to Sunday’s air crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 while announcing the software upgrade plan on Monday, but it offered its "deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones" on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The aircraft giant said a Boeing technical team is at the crash site to provide technical assistance to the local authorities.

Boeing said it has been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX for the past several months in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 tragedy.

Despite Sunday’s air crash in Ethiopia, Boeing said that the 737 MAX is "a safe airplane that was designed, built and supported" by its skilled employees.


Ethiopian Airlines Crash Updates: Ethiopia to Send ‘Black Boxes’ Abroad for Analysis



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