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Preliminary report reveals details on fatal Ethiopia 737 MAX crash

A now-grounded Boeing 737 MAX jet. (AP)

A preliminary crash report released Thursday revealed that a fatal Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash in March was indeed caused by the nose of the plane being forced down against the better efforts of the pilots of the aircraft.

The report also confirms that the pilots followed Boeing’s emergency procedures in an attempt to regain control. Those procedures were instituted as a safety measure shortly after the Lion Air incident.

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“The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft,” Ethiopian Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges said during a Thursday morning news conference.

These findings contradict statements by Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration that those procedures would have prevented the crash.

The report says the pilots turned off the motors controlled by the automated anti-stall feature in an effort to regain manual control. When they were unable to stop the plane from taking a deep nose dive, the pilots turned the motors back on, reactivating the anti-stall system. The plane ultimately crashed, killing all 157 people on board.

This comes not long after allegations that before instituting emergency procedures following a fatal Lion Air crash caused by that same anti-stall feature, Boeing didn’t tell pilots the system even existed in the first place.

“Boeing thought it was so good — that it was so flawless — that they didn’t even bother to tell us about it,” pilot Rob Mark told KIRO Radio’s Candy, Mike and Todd Show last week. “They didn’t tell (pilots) anything.”

Boeing recently announced that it would be adding a failsafe to the 737 MAX in the future to counteract the difficulty caused by the system in regaining manual control. The FAA has also vowed to revamp its oversight of airplane development.

MyNorthwest Staff Contributed to this report.

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