Tue. 10:13 a.m.: More Boeings grounded; US planes still flying

Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash Monday near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The United Kingdom joined countries grounding Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft pending an investigation. They are still flying in the United States. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

HEJERE, Ethiopia (AP) — Britain joined a growing number of countries grounding a new Boeing plane involved in the Ethiopian Airlines disaster as a global team of investigators began picking through the rural crash site today.

The U.S.-based Boeing, however, has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies, and it does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.

Some airlines cited worried customers for grounding the Boeing 737 Max 8, as experts chased details on why the plane crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday, killing all 157 on board.

Ethiopian Airlines had issued no new updates on the crash as of late afternoon as families around the world waited for answers. Some insights into the disaster and its cause could take months, aviation experts said.

Oman and South Korean airline Eastar Jet also were the latest to halt use of the Boeing 373 Max 8. Malaysia, Australia and Singapore suspended all flights into or out of their countries.

Boeing’s technical team joined American, Israeli, United Arab Emirates, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it expects Boeing will soon complete improvements to an automated anti-stall system suspected of contributing to the deadly crash of another new Boeing 737 Max 8 in October, and update training requirements and related flight crew manuals.

Safety experts have cautioned against drawing too many comparisons too soon with that Lion Air crash of the same model that killed 189 people in Indonesia.

The Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed in clear weather six minutes after taking off for Nairobi.

One witness told The Associated Press that he saw smoke 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,” farmer Tamrat Abera said.

It should take five days before any victims’ remains are identified, Ethiopian Airlines spokesman Asrat Begashaw told the AP. The dead came from 35 countries and included dozens of humanitarian workers.

COMMENTS