An Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi has crashed, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members on board. Flight ET 302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 lost contact with air traffic controllers six minutes after take-off.
Citizens from 35 countries were on board the flight, which was likely carrying people to attend a major United Nations environmental conference in Nairobi. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it had no information that Australians were on board the flight.
This is newsworthy not just for the suddenness of the crash and the huge loss of life, but also because it involves the troubled Boeing 737 MAX.
Two 737 MAX 8s have now crashed within the past 6 months (the first was in Indonesia, October 2018). Both incidents involved newly delivered planes that failed at takeoff. There is evidence that the 737 MAX's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System is to blame.
China has responded by ordering all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their MAX 8s until further notice. This will impact a total of 96 planes. Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways have followed suit.