Following Canada and loud International outcry for Action, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. is issuing an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft in the wake of a crash of an Ethiopian Airliner that killed 157 people.
He called it “an emergency order of prohibition.”
The FAA followed up with a formal order, saying it “made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today.” The agency said the grounding will remain in effect “pending further investigation.”
Boeing said in a statement that the company “continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX” but will “recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft.”
“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said.
The new plane crashed in clear weather six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa for Nairobi on Sunday.
Ethiopian Airlines said the senior pilot issued a distress call and was told to return but all contact was lost shortly afterward. The plane plowed into the ground at Hejere near Bishoftu, scattering debris like a shredded book, a battered passport and business cards in multiple languages.
“I heard this big noise,” resident Tsegaye Reta told the AP. “The villagers said that it was a plane crash, and we rushed to the site. There was a huge smoke that we couldn’t even see the plane. The parts of the plane were falling apart.”
One witness has told The Associated Press that smoke was coming from the plane’s rear before it crashed in a rural field. “The plane rotated two times in the air, and it had some smoke coming from the back then, it hit the ground and exploded,” Tamrat Abera said.
Pope Francis sent his condolences to the families of the victims of the plane crash in Ethiopia.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said in a statement Monday that the pope was sad to learn about the crash and “offers prayers for the deceased from various countries and commends their souls to the mercy of Almighty God.”
The statement said, “Pope Francis sends heartfelt condolences to their families, and upon all who mourn this tragic loss he invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.”