State Department Reversed Security Alert Hours Before Ethiopian Plane Crash
March 10, 2019 The investigation into what caused a Ethiopian Airlines flight to crash six minutes after take off on Sunday morning continues. All 157 passengers and crew were killed in the crash. The victims include 35 different nationalities, including eight Americans.
There has been much speculation about the similarities between Sunday’s crash and Indonesian Lion Air flight 610, also a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft that crashed in October, killing 189 people. Flight data shows erratic climbs and descents before both planes crashed just minutes after takeoff.
Safety experts are cautioning against drawing too many comparisons between the two crashes until more is known about Sunday’s disaster.
Meanwhile, a U.S. Department of State travel alert reversal for Americans traveling in Ethiopia just hours before the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 is raising eyebrows. The update reversed a warning to Americans from traveling into or out of Addis Abba Bole airport on Sunday, March 10.
The original U.S. State Department safety alert, issued on Friday read:
“U.S. Government travelers have been advised not to arrive or depart Bole International Airport on Sunday, March 10, and U.S. Embassy personnel are also temporarily prohibited from traveling to Oromia.”
The update issued just hours before the fatal crash gave an “all clear” for travel to and from the airport.
“U.S. Government travelers may arrive or depart from Bole International Airport on Sunday, March 10.”
Boeing said a technical team under the direction of the Ethiopian Accident Investigations Bureau and the U.S. National Transport Safety Board will travel to the site where its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed in Ethiopia.
There is no evidence yet on what caused Sunday’s plane crash. During a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Ethiopian Airlines CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam said:
“It is a brand new airplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time.”
Mr. GebreMariam further stated there were no defects prior to the flight, so it is hard to see any parallels with the Indonesian Lion Air crash.
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