The second Boeing 737 Max crash happened a year ago, here's what went down, the unanswered questions, and the ongoing fallout.

The second Boeing 737 Max crash happened a year ago, here's what went down, the unanswered questions, and the ongoing fallout.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash site

  • Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed near Addis Ababa one year ago Tuesday. It was the second of two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes within just five months.
  • Both crashes have been attributed to a faulty automated flight-control system called MCAS. However, it was the second crash that confirmed to the world that there was a major, fatal flaw with the plane.
  • The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded around the world since that crash, and continues to sit idle today, as Boeing frantically tries to get the plane certified to return to service.
  • Here's how the disaster unfolded, and what it's meant for Boeing, the FAA, and air travel around the world over the past 12 months.
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At 8:38 a.m. local time, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 took off from Addis Ababa.

Six minutes later, the jet slammed into the ground like a missile about 40 miles away, making impact at nearly 700 miles per hour. All 157 passengers and crew were killed.


Bound for Nairobi, Kenya, the sleek, modern Boeing 737 Max 8 jet was far from a niche or regional flight.

Ethiopian Airlines was, and remains, one of the largest and most successful African airlines, providing links from the Americas and Europe all across the African continent.

On this particular flight, passengers hailed from 35 countries including Canada, the US, the UK, Slovakia, Germany, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sweden, India, Russia, Norway, China, France, Israel, and more.


It was the second time in less than five months that a Boeing 737 Max had crashed. The first crash, Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, set off a flurry of alarm about the plane, particularly when a new automated flight system called MCAS was implicated as a cause.

Despite some calls to ground the plane, however, it was allowed to continue flying. Boeing and the FAA issued an emergency notice referencing the MCAS system - though not by name - and directions for how to manage erroneous activations.

After Ethiopian 302, a consensus that there was something wrong with the plane came swiftly. Fewer than 400 planes had entered service, and already two of them had crashed.


The plane type was grounded around the world within the next two days - a year later, the plane still hasn't returned to service.

Now, one year later, here is what happened to Ethiopian Flight 302 that March morning, the ongoing legacy of the crash, and the questions that remain.

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