Indonesia offers to help Ethiopia probe plane crash | Bangkok Post: news

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Indonesia offers to help Ethiopia probe plane crash

Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50km south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia on Sunday. (AP photo)

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The head of Indonesia's national transport safety agency says it will offer to assist the Ethiopian investigation into the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane, as Ethiopia and China ground other planes of the same model.

The same model of plane, operated by Lion Air, crashed in Indonesia in October, killing all 189 people on board. Like the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, which killed 157 people, the Lion Air jet had erratic speed in the few minutes it was in the air.

Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Safety Transportation Board, said Monday that Indonesia can be a party to Ethiopia's investigation because one of its citizens was among those who died in the crash.

He said, "However, we will also offer to assist the investigation process."

Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 fleet until further notice, the airline said on its Twitter account on Monday, a day after a crash killed all 157 people on board one of its planes of the same type.

"Although we don't yet know the cause of the crash, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution," the airline said.

Ethiopian Airlines has a fleet of four 737 MAX 8 jets, not counting the one that crashed on Sunday, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

China on Monday ordered its airlines to suspend operations of their 737 MAX 8 jets by 6pm (5pm in Thailand) following the crash in Ethiopia, the second of a Boeing 737 MAX jet since one operated by Indonesia's Lion Air crashed in October. 

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