A Bird Strike May Have Caused the Boeing Crash, Say US Aviation Officials

The news revealed by a Wall Street Journal report caused Boeing shares to rise.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Boeing shares rose up 2.1% in premarket trading Tuesday after a Wall Street Journal report revealed US aviation officials believe a bird strike may have caused the crash of the 737 Max in Ethiopia in March that made headlines around the world.


The WSJ reported that a high-ranking Boeing executive raised but then dismissed the possibility of a bird collision having triggered the second crash following the first in Indonesia. In the meantime, the publication also reported that US aviation authorities increasingly believe that a version of that scenario is the plausible cause for the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Ethiopian authorities, however, disagree.

Bad sensor data

Previously, crash investigators said bad sensor data were the culprits for both the crashes in Ethiopia in March and in Indonesia in October. The fault lay in a system that automatically pushed the nose of the plane down if the aircraft was perceived to be in a stall.

The process, however, proves destructive if the plane is not in a stall. Since then there has been much discussion about what truly went wrong including some whistleblowing.

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One investigative report published by Drew Griffin at CNN revealed that one day after the Ethiopian minister of transportation released a preliminary report on the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines flight, several current and former Boeing employees called the US Federal Aviation Authority’s anonymous safety hotline. They reported additional issues with the aircraft.

For now, all Boeing 737 Max airplanes worldwide have been grounded. So far, the Ethiopian and Indonesian crashes together killed a combined 346 people. 

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