- REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo
- The crashed Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane hit the ground at 575 mph, leaving a crater 32 feet deep and 131 feet long, according to a preliminary report released Thursday by the Ethiopian government.
- The plane reached a speed that exceeded its design limits as the pilots rushed to follow Boeing’s emergency procedures to stop the plane from nosediving, Reuters reported.
- Boeing acknowledged on Thursday that a broken sensor triggered the plane’s anti-stall software system. It said a software fix would ensure it does not happen again.
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The crashed Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max hit the ground at 575 mph and left a crater 32 feet deep, according to a preliminary report on the March crash. All 157 people on board died.
The plane’s airspeed indicator reached 500 knots (roughly 575 mph) just before the plane crashed, said the 33-page report, released by the Ethiopian government on Thursday. It had been in the air for just six minutes.
Its impact in a field near Addis Ababa created a hole about 32 feet deep, 92 feet wide, and 131 feet long, according to the report, which is subject to change as the investigation continues.
“This accident was not survivable,” investigators concluded bluntly.
- Air Accident Investigation Bureau
The plane’s speed exceeded its design limits, Reuters reported, adding that passengers would have experienced negative G-forces before impact.
The Ethiopian Airlines pilots followed Boeing’s emergency procedures but couldn’t control the plane and stop its nose from pointing down, the report said.
- MICHAEL TEWELDE/AFP/Getty Images
Ethiopia’s transport minister, Dagmawit Moges, said as she delivered the report on Thursday that “the crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft.”
The report also said that the plane was considered airworthy before takeoff and that the pilots were fully certified to fly the plane.
The findings put pressure on Boeing, which is facing questions about its software and how its planes are certified.
Boeing acknowledged on Thursday that an erroneous angle-of-attack sensor triggered the plane’s anti-stall software system, known as MCAS. It’s designed to prevent stalls by automatically pointing the nose down if it detects the aircraft is climbing too sharply.
A similar error was outlined in the preliminary report into the fatal Lion Air 737 Max 8 crash, which killed all 189 people on board in October.
The 737 Max was grounded around the world after the Ethiopian Airlines crash last month.
Boeing has said it is working on a software update to the planes that the Federal Aviation Administration will examine before it’s rolled out. It also faces an investigation by the US Department of Justice and the FBI into its development process.
- BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
The US Senate is also examining how the FAA allowed Boeing to certify parts of its aircraft itself as part of a policy ordered by Congress in 2003.
Boeing’s CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, said on Thursday that Boeing was “sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 Max accidents” and that the company’s top engineers and experts were working “to finalize and implement a software update that will ensure accidents like that of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 never happen again.”
- Read more about the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes: