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The Federal Aviation Administration identified similarities between the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, leading the agency to ground all Boeing 737 Max planes on Wednesday.
In its emergency order, the FAA said new information about Sunday’s crash “indicates some similarities” between the two disasters that “warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause that needs to be better understood and addressed.”
President Donald Trump said that the United States will ground all Boeing 737 Max planes immediately, becoming the last country banning such flights after the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash.
“Pilots have been notified, airlines have been all notified. Airlines are agreeing with this. The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern,” Trump said from the White House.
US carriers, including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, that fly Max 8 planes began canceling some flights and were working to rebook the affected passengers.
The grounding will remain in effect indefinitely, the FAA said, pending the examination of flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
The black boxes from the Ethiopian Airlines plane were being sent to Paris, a spokesman for the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) said.
France is set to handle the review of the black boxes, which are expected to arrive in the country by Thursday, the spokesman said.
Ethiopian Airlines spokesman Asrat Begashaw had told CNN the “black box” data recorders recovered would “definitely be going to Europe,” as Ethiopia does not have the necessary equipment to analyze that data.
The US and Canada had been the only two countries still flying the aircraft. To date, 385 Max aircraft have been delivered, according to Flight Global, of which 344 are the Max 8 variant.