Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam on Tuesday spoke about the crash that claimed 157 lives and revealed what the pilot stated minutes before the crash.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Gebremariam said the pilot of the ill-fated plane reported ‘flight control problems’ moments after take-off and was set to return back to ‘base’.
“According to the air traffic controller recorded voice exchange, the pilot reported flight control problems and was finding it difficult to control the plane.
“He asked to return back to base and he was given clearance…that was at 8:44 am, the same time the aeroplane disappeared from the radar,” he said.
He, however, did not go into the details of the problems the flight encountered but confirmed that they had grounded similar planes until investigations are concluded.
This is the second crash involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8 in just under five months and questions are now being asked.
Gebremariam was asked about the similarities of the latest crash to that of Lion Air flight 610 in October 2018 off the coast of Indonesia that killed all 189 on board but said it is too early to speculate.
He added that all pilots had been properly trained and there was an airworthiness directive (AD) after the Indonesian crash.
An AD is a notification to owners and operators of certified aircraft that a known safety deficiency with a particular model of aircraft, engine, avionics or other system exists and must be corrected.
If a certified aircraft has outstanding airworthiness directives that have not been complied with, the aircraft is not considered airworthy.
The CEO, however, admitted that the similarities between the two crashes were glaring, considering both planes were new and they both crashed moments after take-off.
He added that the flight data recorder recovered from the plane will be sent overseas for analysis.
By Vincent Kejitan