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

March 11, 2019: Airplane engine parts are seen at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa.

Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

The latest

  • Ethiopian Airlines crew followed all of Boeing’s recommended procedures for the 737 Max 8 that crashed last month and killed 157 people, but they were "not able to control the aircraft” and stop its nose from diving, Ethiopia’s Transport Minister said Thursday.
  • Investigators released a summary of their preliminary findings, the first official word about what happened when the plane took off from Addis Ababa on March 10 and crashed minutes later. The minister described “repetitive uncommanded aircraft nose-down conditions,” a factor also present in a deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October.
  • The Ethiopian crash prompted airlines around the world – including Canada, several of whose citizens were killed on board – to ground one of the most popular Boeing plane models. Air Canada, the largest Canadian buyer of Max 8s, is putting off the launch of new seasonal routes this spring as it juggles its existing fleet to handle certain routes.


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.

update on the way

Boeing has said that it has developed an

update to its automated anti-stall system called the

Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation

System (MCAS)

MCAS is designed to prevent a stall, the loss of lift

that occurs when too little air is moving over the

wings. It was implemented to address the jet’s

changed balance after the planemaker installed

larger engines and moved them forward on its

new Max series aircraft.

How Boeing’s anti-stall sensor works

When the nose is level...

The angle of attack (AOA) sensor, which measures the

angle between the airflow and the wing, align with

oncoming airflow. The sensor tells MCAS when the wings

are losing airflow because the plane’s nose

is pointed too high.

Airflow

AOA sensor

When the nose is elevated...

The angle of attack rises and when it becomes too high,

the anti-stall system activates. MCAS then tilts the

horizontal stabilizer in the tail of the aircraft to

force the plane’s nose down restore airflow.

Horizontal

stabilizer

what’s new in the update

AOA sensor agreement

Unlike before, the flight control system will now

compare data from both AOA sensors. If there is a

discrepancy of more than 5.5 degrees between the

two with flaps retracted...

Both AOA sensors

5.5˚

Warning light

...the MCAS will not activate and a warning will

appear in front of the pilots on their Primary Flight

Display (PFD) instrument panel.

Primary Flight Display

Warning light

Manual control

The updated MCAS will only be able to

make one automated control input for

each elevated angle of attack event.

MCAS will not be able to move the

stabilizer more than can be counter

acted manually by the pilots.

The flight crew will still be able to re-take

manual control of the aircraft by using

inputs to the flight controls.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: boeing; reuters;

graphic news

update on the way

Boeing has said that it has developed an

update to its automated anti-stall system called the

Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation

System (MCAS)

MCAS is designed to prevent a stall, the loss of lift

that occurs when too little air is moving over the

wings. It was implemented to address the jet’s

changed balance after the planemaker installed

larger engines and moved them forward on its

new Max series aircraft.

How Boeing’s anti-stall sensor works

When the nose is level...

The angle of attack (AOA) sensor, which measures the

angle between the airflow and the wing, align with

oncoming airflow. The sensor tells MCAS when the wings

are losing airflow because the plane’s nose

is pointed too high.

Airflow

AOA sensor

When the nose is elevated...

The angle of attack rises and when it becomes too high,

the anti-stall system activates. MCAS then tilts the

horizontal stabilizer in the tail of the aircraft to

force the plane’s nose down restore airflow.

Horizontal

stabilizer

what’s new in the update

AOA sensor agreement

Unlike before, the flight control system will now

compare data from both AOA sensors. If there is a

discrepancy of more than 5.5 degrees between the

two with flaps retracted...

Both AOA sensors

5.5˚

Warning light

...the MCAS will not activate and a warning will

appear in front of the pilots on their Primary Flight

Display (PFD) instrument panel.

Primary Flight Display

Warning light

Manual control

The updated MCAS will only be able to

make one automated control input for

each elevated angle of attack event.

MCAS will not be able to move the

stabilizer more than can be counter-

acted manually by the pilots.

The flight crew will still be able to re-take

manual control of the aircraft by using

inputs to the flight controls.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: boeing; reuters;

graphic news

update on the way

Boeing has said that it has developed an update to its automated anti-stall

system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)

MCAS is designed to prevent a stall, the loss of lift that occurs when too little air is

moving over the wings. It was implemented to address the jet’s changed balance after

the planemaker installed larger engines and moved them forward on its new Max

series aircraft.

How Boeing’s anti-stall sensor works

When the nose is level...

When the nose is elevated...

The angle of attack (AOA) sensor, which

measures the angle between the airflow

and the wing, align with oncoming airflow.

The sensor tells MCAS when the wings are

osing airflow because the plane’s nose

is pointed too high.

The angle of attack rises and when it

becomes too high, the anti-stall system

activates. MCAS then tilts the horizontal

stabilizer in the tail of the aircraft to

force the plane’s nose down

restore airflow.

Airflow

Horizontal

stabilizer

AOA sensor

what’s new in the update

AOA sensor agreement

Warning light

Unlike before, the flight control system will

now compare data from both AOA sensors. If

there is a discrepancy of more than 5.5 degrees

between the two with flaps retracted...

...the MCAS will not activate and a

warning will appear in front of the

pilots on their Primary Flight Display

(PFD) instrument panel.

Both AOA sensors

Primary Flight Display

5.5˚

Warning light

Manual control

The updated

MCAS will only

be able to make

one automated

control input for

each elevated

angle of attack

event.

MCAS will not

be able to

move the

stabilizer more

than can be

counteracted

manually by

the pilots.

The flight crew

will still be able

to re-take

manual control of

the aircraft by

using inputs to

the flight controls.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: boeing; reuters; graphic news

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 weeks since 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. Here’s a guide to the cancellations so far.

Compiled by Globe staff

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

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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