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World Ethiopian Airlines crash: What we know so far about the disaster and the 157 victims

March 12: Ethiopian police officers walk past the debris of Flight ET 302 near the town of Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

BAZ RATNER/Reuters

The latest

  • A software upgrade for 737 Max 8 aircraft will be rolled out in the coming weeks, U.S. aerospace firm Boeing said Friday as most of the jetliners were grounded by airlines and aviation regulators around the world.
  • March 10′s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane near Addis Ababa has heightened concerns about the Max 8′s anti-stalling system, which is also suspected of being a factor in last October’s crash of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia. The crashes killed 157 and 189 people, respectively.
  • Officials in France are analyzing the flight recorders from Ethiopia’s Flight ET 302 to find out what happened. Ethiopian officials decided not to send the black boxes to the United States, in a sign of eroding trust in U.S. safety protocols.


What happened on March 10: a timeline

(All times local)


Ethiopians Airlines flight ET302 crashed

shortly after takeoff

0

250

YEMEN

KM

ETHIOPIA

SUDAN

Addis Ababa

Bole Int’l Airport

Departed 8:38 a.m. local time

DJIBOUTI

Intended path*

Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed near Ejere, Ethiopia, killing all 157 on board including 18 Canadians

SOUTH

SUDAN

SOMALIA

UGANDA

KENYA

Detail

Nairobi

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

0

2,000

KM

*Approximate path.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN;

OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; WIRES

Ethiopians Airlines flight ET302 crashed

shortly after takeoff

ERITREA

0

250

Red

Sea

YEMEN

KM

ETHIOPIA

SUDAN

DJIBOUTI

Addis Ababa

Bole Int’l Airport

Departed 8:38 a.m. local time

Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed near Ejere, Ethiopia, killing all 157 on board including 18 Canadians

Intended path*

SOUTH

SUDAN

SOMALIA

UGANDA

KENYA

Detail

Lake

Victoria

Nairobi

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

0

2,000

KM

TANZANIA

*Approximate path.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP

CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; WIRES

Ethiopians Airlines flight ET302 crashed shortly after takeoff

ERITREA

0

250

Red Sea

KM

SUDAN

YEMEN

ETHIOPIA

Gulf of Aden

DJIBOUTI

Addis Ababa

Bole Int’l Airport

Departed 8:38 a.m. local time

SOMALIA

Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed near Ejere, Ethiopia, killing all 157 on board including 18 Canadians

Intended path*

SOUTH

SUDAN

UGANDA

KENYA

Detail

Lake

Victoria

Nairobi

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

0

2,000

KM

TANZANIA

*Approximate path.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; WIRES

8:38 a.m.: Flight ET 302 takes off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Records shared by Flightradar24 show that the plane’s vertical speed quickly becomes erratic. Shortly after, the pilot issues a distress call and is told to return.

ALTITUDE OF AIRCRAFT

Feet

10,000

8:41 a.m.

received data

9,000

8,000

Departs at

8:38 a.m.

7,000

Note: All times local.

VERTICAL SPEED

The rate of climb or descent, feet per minute

4,000

3,000

2,000

1,000

0

-1,000

-2,000

-3,000

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALTITUDE OF AIRCRAFT

Feet

10,000

8:41 a.m.

received data

9,000

8,000

Departs at

8:38 a.m.

7,000

Note: All times local.

VERTICAL SPEED

The rate of climb or descent, feet per minute

4,000

3,000

2,000

1,000

0

-1,000

-2,000

-3,000

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALTITUDE OF AIRCRAFT

Feet

10,000

8:41 a.m.

received data

9,000

8,000

Departs at

8:38 a.m.

7,000

Note: All times local.

VERTICAL SPEED

The rate of climb or descent, feet per minute

4,000

3,000

2,000

1,000

0

-1,000

-2,000

-3,000

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

8:44 a.m.: Six minutes after takeoff, contact with the plane is lost as it falls toward the ground some 50 kilometres outside Addis Ababa. Witnesses interviewed by Reuters describe the plane giving off strange noises and trailing smoke and debris before it passes over a field of panicked cows, and then crashes. “It was a loud rattling sound. Like straining and shaking metal,” said Turn Buzuna, a 26-year-old farmer who lives about 300 metres from the crash site.

10:48 a.m.: The first word of the crash comes in a Twitter post from the office of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister.

11:15 a.m.: Ethiopian Airlines says it believes 149 passengers and eight crew members were on board the plane that crashed near Bishoftu.

1:35 p.m.: Ethiopia’s state broadcaster reports that all passengers are dead.

Canadian victims of the Ethiopian air crash include Amina Ibrahim Odowa and her five-year-old daughter Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir; Professor Pius Adesanmi; Peter de Marsh and Derick Lwugi.

Family handout; Carleton University; Internal Family Forestry Alliance; Facebook

The Canadian victims

Most of those on board the flight were Kenyans, according to the airline’s list of the travellers’ nationalities. The dead included soccer officials, law students, the wife and two children of a Slovakian lawmaker, Austrian doctors and an Irish engineer. Here’s what we know about the Canadian passengers who were killed.

Prof. Pius Adesanmi

A professor at Ottawa’s Carleton University professor was among the first Canadian victims to be identified, with the university announcing that Global Affairs Canada confirmed he was among the dead. Prof. Adesanmi ​was a professor in Carleton’s English department and was the director of the university’s Institute of African Studies. “Pius was a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship and his sudden loss is a tragedy,” said Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Carleton University president and vice-chancellor.

Amina Ibrahim Odowa and Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir

An Edmonton woman and her five-year-old daughter were also killed. Ms. Odowa’s brother Mohamed Ali, who lives in Toronto, said the two had been travelling to Nairobi to visit family. Mr. Ali said he and his sister and their family had immigrated to Canada from Somalia via Kenya in 2006. Here, Ms. Odowa, 33, had three daughters, ages 3, 5, and 7. Only the middle child, Sofia – who would have turned six this summer – was on the flight with her.

Danielle Moore

Danielle Moore, Micah Messent and Angela Rehhorn were all going to a UN environment summit in Nairobi when the plane crashed.

Instagram/UNA

The 24-year-old marine biology student from Winnipeg had posted on Facebook Saturday that she was “so excited” and “beyond privileged” to announce she had been selected to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi. On Twitter, she added that she looked forward to sharing what she learned at the conference with her followers. But that was her final tweet. Reached by phone at the family’s home in Scarborough Sunday, Ms. Moore’s father said they were still in shock. “She had a whole life ahead of her. We miss her deeply.”

Angela Rehhorn

Angela. Rehhorn, 24, who had a degree in marine biology from Dalhousie University, was a member of the Canadian Conservation Corps (CCC) at the Canadian Wildlife Federation, a program training future conservationists. “Angela was full of excitement and optimism of youth, just waiting to change the world. She was an inspiration,” said the federation’s chief executive, Rick Bates.

Micah Messent

Micah Messent, a member of the Red River Métis Nation in Manitoba, grew up in British Columbia’s Comox Valley. He worked for BC Parks and planned to go to law school.

Derick Lwugi

A senior financial accountant with the City of Calgary and the past president of the Calgary-Kenya association, Mr. Lwugi and his wife, Gladys, have three children. Mr. Lwugi, who had immigrated to Calgary from Kenya 15 years ago, was travelling back to Nairobi to visit his parents and his in-laws. His mother had not been feeling well. “He loved people,” Gladys said. “If people had any needs or problems, he was there to, you know, organize people around that family or whatever they needed.”

Peter DeMarsh

Hailing from Taymouth, N.B., Mr. DeMarsh was president of the International Family Forestry Alliance. On Twitter, Dominic Walubengo, director of Kenya’s Forest Action Network, called Mr. DeMarsh a “dear friend," adding that he was bound for Nairobi to attend a conference on climate change and family-owned forests.

Jessica Hyba

Jessica Hyba was senior external relations officer for the UNHCR.

handout

Jessica Hyba, 43, who had just started a posting last month in Somalia as a senior external relations officer for the UN High Commission for Refugees, was among the dead. A mother of two daughters, aged 9 and 12, Ms. Hyba had just spent seven years in the Middle East for the UNHCR and the NGO Care, making forays into refugee camps in Iraq. “She worked some of the worst duty stations on the planet,” said a friend, Kyle Matthews, the executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University.

The Dixit and Vaidya families

Prerit Dixit and Kosha Vaidya, with their two daughters Anushka and Ashka Dixit.

HANDOUT

Three generations of one Brampton, Ont., family were among the dead: Pannagesh and Hansini Vaidya, 73 and 67; their daughter Kosha Vaidya, 37; her husband Prerit Dixit, 43; and their daughters Anushka and Ashka Dixit, 13 and 14. They were on a March break trip to Kenya, Kosha Vaidya’s birthplace, a family member told The Globe and Mail. Peel District School Board, where the teenage Dixit girls studied, said the tragedy “has brought great sadness to the students and staff.” The grandparents, Pannagesh and Hansini Vaidya, were permanent residents of Canada.

Stéphanie Lacroix

Stéphanie Lacroix, a 25-year-old project coordinator with United Nations Association in Canada, was one of four young delegates on board to the UN Environment Assembly gathering in Nairobi. A Franco-Ontarian from Timmins, Ont., Ms. Lacroix wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a school teacher but an internship with the NGO Stepping Stones International changed her outlook. She had worked in Malawi for World University Service of Canada.

Darcy Belanger

Mr. Belanger was another Canadian bound for the Nairobi conference. He was working as U.S. director of professional development for Denver-based PCL Construction, according to his LinkedIn page.

Rubi Pauls

A nine-month-old baby was among the Canadians killed, her grandfather, Quindos Karanja, told The Canadian Press. He said baby Rubi was travelling with her mother Carolyne Karanja 34; siblings Ryan and Kerri, 7 and 4; and her grandmother Ann Wangui Karanja, 60. Rubi was the only Canadian citizen in the family. Mr. Karanja said they were travelling back to Kenya after a visit to Ontario.

Dawn Tanner

An Ontario high school teacher with a passion for volunteering, Ms. Tanner was on her way to visit friends in Kenya. She worked with the Grand Erie District School Board as the department head of special education at the Hagersville Secondary School, near Hamilton. Cody French said his mother had previously done community work in small villages.

Ameen Noormohamed

A Toronto Muslim organization has identified the 72-year-old member of their community as a victim of Sunday’s plane crash in Ethiopia. The centre says Noormohamed lived in the Toronto area. It says his family members are currently in Kenya making funeral arrangements.

March 11: The United Nations flag flies at half-mast in Geneva in memory of the victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash.

DENIS BALIBOUSE/Reuters

Victims from the global aid community

The plane’s departure point and destination – Addis Ababa and Nairobi – are hubs for humanitarian workers, several of whom were among the dead. The crash came just ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly, which opened as planned on Monday after a moment of silence for the victims.

Officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme confirmed in statements that staff members from those agencies and other UN partners had been on the flight. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released a statement on Twitter, saying he was deeply saddened by the news.

What we know about the plane

THE BOEING 737 MAX 8

Length: 39.52 metres

Some other specifications:

Range: 6,570 kilometres

Wingspan: 35.9 metres

Maximum seats: 210

Engine: LEAP-1B from CFM International

 

 

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCES: GRAPHIC NEWS, BOEING

THE BOEING 737 MAX 8

Length: 39.52 metres

Some other specifications:

Range: 6,570 kilometres

Wingspan: 35.9 metres

Maximum seats: 210

Engine: LEAP-1B from CFM International

 

 

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCES: GRAPHIC NEWS, BOEING

THE BOEING 737 MAX 8

Length: 39.52 metres

Some other specifications:

Range: 6,570 kilometres

Wingspan: 35.9 metres

Maximum seats: 210

Engine: LEAP-1B from CFM International

 

 

 

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCES: GRAPHIC NEWS, BOEING

The model: The crash has put new scrutiny on the Boeing 737 Max 8, a new model introduced in 2017. The Ethiopian Airlines plane had been delivered new last November and was in service for four months before the crash. Driven by orders from Air Canada, WestJet Airlines Ltd. and other carriers, the Max 8 is the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing’s history, the company said: The plane that crashed in Ethiopia had been delivered new last November, and was in service for four months. While the Max 8 is considered one of the industry’s most reliable planes, the crash has raised questions about its flight-control system, called MCAS, which pushes the nose of the plane down if the system senses conditions likely to cause a stall. Pilots unfamiliar with how MCAS works could run into difficulties during takeoff.

key feature of boeing max

The Boeing 737 Max incorporates the Maneuvering

Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) – an

anti-stall feature introduced to compensate for the

heavier engines, which changed the aerodynamics

of the jet, tending to push the nose of the aircraft up

HOW MCAS WORKS

AOA sensor

Winglet aligns

itself with

airflow

Level flight: Normal angle of

attack (AOA) – angle at

which airflow hits aircraft

Aircraft trajectory

Air flow

CFM Leap-1B turbofan

Nose-up flight

A high AOA puts aircraft at risk

of stalling. MCAS is automatically

triggered, moving the horizontal

stabilizer trim counterclockwise,

which pushes the

jet’s nose down

Longitudinal

axis of aircraft

Angle

of attack

Aircraft

trajectory

Air flow

Measured angle of attack

System activates only when plane is being flown

manually, in flaps-up flight, and typically during

steep turns

the globe and mail, Sources: graphic news;

AP; JAO Aero Media LLC; the New York Times;

Seattle Times; the air current

key feature of boeing max

The Boeing 737 Max incorporates the Maneuvering

Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) – an

anti-stall feature introduced to compensate for the heavier

engines, which changed the aerodynamics of the jet,

tending to push the nose of the aircraft up

HOW MCAS WORKS

AOA sensor

Winglet aligns

itself with

airflow

Level flight: Normal angle of

attack (AOA) – angle at

which airflow hits aircraft

Aircraft trajectory

Air flow

CFM Leap-1B turbofan

Nose-up flight

A high AOA puts aircraft at risk

of stalling. MCAS is automatically

triggered, moving the horizontal

stabilizer trim counterclockwise,

which pushes the

jet’s nose down

Longitudinal

axis of aircraft

Angle

of attack

Aircraft

trajectory

Air flow

Measured angle of attack

System activates only when plane is being flown

manually, in flaps-up flight, and typically during

steep turns

the globe and mail, Sources: graphic news; AP; JAO

Aero Media LLC; the New York Times; Seattle Times;

the air current

key feature of boeing max

The Boeing 737 Max incorporates the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation

System (MCAS) – an anti-stall feature introduced to compensate for the heavier engines,

which changed the aerodynamics of the jet, tending to push the nose of the aircraft up

HOW MCAS WORKS

AOA sensor

Level flight: Normal angle of attack (AOA)

– angle at which airflow hits aircraft

Winglet aligns

itself with

airflow

Aircraft trajectory

CFM Leap-1B turbofan

Nose-up flight

A high AOA puts aircraft at risk

of stalling. MCAS is automatically

triggered, moving the horizontal

stabilizer trim counterclockwise,

which pushes the

jet’s nose down

Longitudinal

axis of aircraft

Angle of attack

Aircraft

trajectory

Air flow

Measured angle of attack

System activates only when plane is being flown manually,

in flaps-up flight, and typically during steep turns

the globe and mail, Sources: graphic news; AP; JAO Aero Media LLC;

the New York Times; Seattle Times; the air current

Video: How does the MCAS, or Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, work? Here's a visual primer.

The Indonesian crash: The Ethiopian plane is the same model as a Lion Air flight that crashed in Indonesia last October, killing all 189 people on board That crash took place 13 minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board. In their preliminary report, Indonesian investigators found there were several technical problems recorded in the plane’s maintenance log in the days before the crash: Airspeed and altitude displays contained errors, and a sensor that measures the wing angle was replaced a day before the crash. In the flight before the fatal crash, the crew reported instrument failures caused control problems. Officials and analysts said it was too early to tell if there was any direct connection between what happened to the Lion Air plane and the Ethiopian Airlines plane.

ground altitude

In feet

6,000

Lion Air Flight 610

4,000

Both planes appear to have

lost altitude in the first few

minutes of their flights

2,000

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

0

0

200

400

600

SECONDS SINCE TAKEOFF

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: reuters

ground altitude

In feet

6,000

Lion Air Flight 610

4,000

Both planes appear to have

lost altitude in the first few

minutes of their flights

2,000

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

0

0

200

400

600

SECONDS SINCE TAKEOFF

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: reuters

ground altitude

In feet

6,000

Lion Air Flight 610

4,000

Both planes appear to have

lost altitude in the first few

minutes of their flights

2,000

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

0

0

200

400

600

SECONDS SINCE TAKEOFF

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: reuters

What Boeing is doing: With global confidence in its planes faltering, Boeing worked to issue a software update to the Max 8′s automated systems to address concerns about safety. The company had already been working on an update after the Lion Air crash. The U.S. Federal Aviation Industry says it expects to approve the software changes no later than April.

What airlines are doing: In the days after the crash, most of the world’s airlines and national aviation regulators grounded their Max 8s and barred the plane from entering, leaving or flying over their airspace. It wasn’t until Wednesday that the United States, which has more Max 8s than any other country, followed suit. Here’s a guide to the cancellations so far.


The reaction so far

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the plane crash. “Canadians, Sophie and I offer our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost family, friends, and loved ones as a result of this tragedy. While the causes of the crash continue to be investigated, the safety and security of all Canadians remains our primary concern,” he said.

The office of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed posted on Twitter expressing its “deepest condolences” to the families of those who lost their loved ones. In a televised statement, Mr. Ahmed said he would assure that the “cause of the accident will be investigated by technical experts and communicated promptly to the public.”

Compiled by Globe staff

Associated Press, Reuters and The Canadian Press, with reports from Michelle Zilio, Geoffrey York, Molly Hayes and Janice Dickson

Editor’s note: (March 11, 2019) An earlier version of this story said crash victim Stéphanie Lacroix was 27. In fact, she was 25.

(March 13, 2019) An earlier version of this article used incorrect names for two Canadian victims. Amina Ibrahim Odowa was incorrectly identified with the surname Odowaa. Her daughter Sofia was incorrectly identified as Safiya.
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If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

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