Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

By Joshua Berlinger, Eric Levenson, Rob Picheta, Euan McKirdy, Jessie Yeung and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:41 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019
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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.
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.

3:43 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Indian authorities allow 737 MAX 8s to fly

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said Tuesday it would not ground the 737 MAX 8s operating in the country. But it did announce a raft of interim safety and maintenance measures for airlines operating that particular Boeing aircraft.

Only two Indian carriers have 737 MAX 8s in their fleets -- Spicejet has 12 and Jet Airways has five, according to the DGCA. 

2:24 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Fiji Airways will continue using 737 MAX 8 jets

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Fiji Airways will continue to using the two Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets in its fleet, the company said in a statement.

Fiji's national carrier said it had "full confidence" in its fleet's airworthiness and that it is in "close contact with Boeing" following Sunday's crash in Ethiopia.

"Our Boeing 737 pilots and cabin crew receive extensive ground and simulator training, over and above the mandatory training set for the MAX 8 by the manufacturer. Fiji Airways is and will remain fully compliant with FAA’s Airworthiness Directive. We continue to ensure that our maintenance and training programme for pilots and engineers meets the highest safety standards. The safety of our passengers and crew is, and always will be, our number one priority."
1:28 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Tennessee physician among those killed in crash

Manisha Nukavarapu 
Manisha Nukavarapu 

Manisha Nukavarapu, a second-year resident physician at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine, was among those killed in the plane crash Sunday, the school said in a statement.

"Those who knew her described her as a fine resident, a delightful person and dedicated physician. She will be greatly missed by her colleagues and patients at Quillen College of Medicine," the statement read.

Nukavarapu graduated from of Guntur Medical College in India. She was traveling to Kenya to visit relatives.

12:54 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Senator calls for all Boeing 737 MAX 8s to be grounded

US Sen. Richard Blumenthal speaks at a news conference in December 2018.
US Sen. Richard Blumenthal speaks at a news conference in December 2018.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal has called on US authorities to ground all 737 MAX 8s "until the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) can assure American travelers that these planes are safe."

 "The crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was the second devastating and alarming tragedy involving Boeing’s new 737 MAX 8 planes in less than five months. These two catastrophic accidents – both claiming the lives of all on board – call into serious question the safety of these airplanes," Blumenthal said in a statement.
"The FAA and the airline industry must act quickly and decisively to protect American travelers, pilots, and flight attendants. These planes must be grounded immediately, and airlines should work expeditiously to minimize disruption and accommodate customers whose travel is impacted.

The FAA declined to ground the jets in the US, saying investigators have not yet determined whether the issue with the Ethiopian Airlines jet is related to the issue that brought down the the same type of plane operated by Lion Air in Indonesia last year.

"This investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions," the FAA said.

12:16 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

FAA to mandate Boeing software upgrade for 737 MAX fleet

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has declined to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 in the United States.

But it said it would mandate that American carriers install a software enhancement to the aircraft no later than next month, in response to last fall's Lion Air crash.

"For the past several months, and in the aftermath of Lion Air Flight 610, Boeing has been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer," Boeing said.

"Boeing has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on development, planning and certification of the software enhancement, and it will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks."

Boeing has sent a technical team to the crash site to provide assistance to investigators.

12:57 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Singapore suspends operation of all 737 MAX planes

Singapore's aviation authority has taken the strong move of suspending "all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore."

The suspension will start at 2 p.m., the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore announced on Tuesday morning. The move will affect SilkAir, a regional carrier in the city-state, and the following airlines that fly into Singapore and have the 737 MAX in their fleets: China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air.

Singapore Airlines does not have any 737 MAX 8 planes.

The decision comes as Aerolíneas Argentinas announced it was grounding its five Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. Argentina's national carrier said the decision had been "taken after the technical reports” following the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The following is a current list of airlines and jurisdictions that have suspended use of the 737 MAX 8:

  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Aeromexico
  • Cayman Airways
  • Comair
  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Singapore

A running list of airlines and countries that have suspended the use of 787 MAX 8s can be found here.

10:28 p.m. ET, March 11, 2019

Experts split on whether Boeing 737 MAX 8 should fly

From CNN's Gregory Wallace

The second fatal crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 in six months raises one huge question: Is the plane safe to fly?

Sunday's crash outside the Ethiopian capital of Addis Abba minutes after take-off came after a Lion Air jet went down last October, also minutes after leaving the tarmac. Both planes were brand new.

The similarities in the two crashes have left aviation safety experts and regulators around the world divided on whether the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is safe to fly.

"I've never said that it's unsafe to fly a particular model of aircraft, but in this case, I'm going to have to go there," said David Soucie, a former FAA safety inspector.

But Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, said he believes it's too early for American authorities to ground the jets.

Read more here