The doomed Boeing 737 MAX-8 jet went down just six minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in Ethiopia.
Flight-tracking website flightradar24 showed the plane “had unstable vertical speed” shortly after it took off, losing and gaining speed dramatically in its final seconds, The Sun reports.
Aviation experts have said this is extremely unusual because once take off happens they say the vertical speed should rise or remain the same.
It is not yet clear what caused the crash – but something went wrong shortly after takeoff at 8.38am.
The plane climbed to 2600m – but just six minutes later, contact with the aircraft was lost.
The pilot of the plane reported difficulties and asked to turn back, according to the airline’s CEO Tewolde GebreMariam.
He added the pilot had an “excellent flying record” and clocked up more than 8,000 hours experience.
A chilling radar map shows the flight not far from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, before the tracking suddenly stops.
CHINA GROUNDS PLANES
China has told its domestic airlines to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleets as the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 raises grave concerns about safety of the top-selling aircraft.
The pilot of the 737 MAX 8 involved in yesterday’s crash reported difficulties just minutes after takeoff and asked to turn back to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
But within moments the plane crashed into the ground, killing all 157 people on board.
China has now asked domestic airlines to temporarily ground the 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which was also involved in the fatal crash of a Lion Air flight in October, Beijing’s Caijing News reports.
China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Air China, Hainan Airlines and Shandong Airlines have the aircraft in their fleet, and China Southern Airlines has another 34 on order.
A blanket grounding in China — one of the world’s biggest travel markets — will be a huge blow to Boeing’s reputation, Bloomberg reports.
Virgin Australia has 30 MAX 8 planes on order from Boeing, alo
The development comes as haunting new details of the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash emerge.
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told reporters at a press conference the pilot of flight ET 302 reported technical difficulties and asked for clearance to return to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
Flight data shows the flight left the city at about 8.38am local time and climbed to 2600m. However, just six minutes later, takeoff contact with the aircraft was lost.
Mr GebreMariam told reporters the pilot was given clearance to turn back after reporting a problem — citing the air traffic controllers record.
He added the pilot had an “excellent flying record” and clocked up more than 8000 hours experience.
A routine maintenance check didn’t reveal any problems, so Mr GebreMariam said the cause of the crash was still unclear.
“It is a brand-new aeroplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time,” he told reporters.
However, experts have called for all fleets to be grounded as flight radar data for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 service shows its vertical speed was unstable after takeoff.
It was the same type of aircraft as the plane involved in a deadly Lion Air crash off Jakarta in October, killing all 189 people on board.
The new Boeing model was recently unveiled to great fanfare by the US aviation giant. Its first flight was less than two years ago.
However, aviation analysts have now expressed grave concerns over the new model — saying the similarities between yesterday’s crash and the Lion Air disaster are too great to be ignored.
Both were run by well-known airlines with strong safety records.
The Lion Air flight crashed 13 minutes after takeoff, while the Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed just six minutes into its journey.
“It’s highly suspicious,” Mary Schiavo, an aviation analyst and the former inspector general of the US Transportation Department, told CNN.
“Here we have a brand-new aircraft that’s gone down twice in a year. That rings alarm bells in the aviation industry because that just doesn’t happen.”
William Waldock, an aviation-safety professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, said so far it appeared both planes crashed with a fatal nosedive.
“Investigators are not big believers in coincidence,” he said, saying Boeing would be looking at the flight-management system and automation on its 737 MAX 8 planes.
In last night’s crash, all eight crew and 149 passengers on-board, including tourists, business travellers and at least 19 UN staff, were killed.
Overnight, Ethiopia declared a national day of mourning for Monday amid a global stream of condolences for loved ones, many of whom gathered in tears at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
“Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO deeply regrets the fatal accident involved on ET 302/March 10 on a scheduled flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi,” it said on its Facebook page.
“The group CEO who is at the accident scene right now regrets to confirm that there are no survivors.