After the second crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet in two years, China, Ethiopia and Indonesia as well as Cayman Airways, a carrier that flies to the U.S. and Caribbean countries, have all suspended use of 737-8s.
The move follows last week’s crash of an Ethiopian jet bound for Kenyway – an incident that occurred shortly after takeoff, just as a crash off Indonesia last year. The death toll from the Ethiopian tragedy was 157; there were 189 people killed in the Indonesian crash.
The flight data and cockpit voice recorders from last week’s incident have been recovered and are being examined.
Ethiopian Airlines said grounding the four remaining 737-8s as an "extra safety precaution" – language echoed by Chinese aviation officials who said their grounding of all 737-8s "in line with the management principle of zero tolerance for safety hazards and strict control of safety risks." China operates 96 of the aircraft.
News sources say officials lost contact with the Ethiopian flight about six minutes after the plane took off from Bole International Airport. The captain reported "difficulties" and requested permission to return to the airport – then the plane disappeared from radar.
The jet had been in service for only four months and had no known technical issues, a spokesman said.