The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max enroute to Nairobi, Kenya crashed, Sunday, six minutes after take-off at Bole International Airport. It was destroyed by the impact and post-impact fire.
Two pilots, crew members and 157 passengers including one Ugandan police officer Christine Alalo died in the March 10, deadly crash. The five-month-old brand new plane was one of eight purchased Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. Our hearts go out to families and friends of the deceased.
Investigations have been launched and at this point we cannot speculate – but industry managers must quickly get to the bottom of what caused the crash largely to reassure customers and demonstrate that they can prevent similar episodes in the future.
The October 2018 Lion Air crash investigation has taken a little over four months, and no report so far has been issued. Speculation continues to swirl regarding design flaws and software glitches.
But we can pick cue from the quick response of Ethiopia, China, Cayman Islands and the UK who have either banned or decided to immediately ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 type aircraft following the deadly crash, until technical investigations are complete.
On October 28, 2018, a similar Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed 12 minutes after take-off, plunging from the skies in Indonesia into the Java Sea, killing all 189 passengers and crew members. That plane too was hardly five months old. This sent jitters about the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8.
But it appears the aviation industry elsewhere did not take keen interest in the peculiarity of this air disaster involving a months-old new plane.
Whereas, and without pinpointing any particular industry, we tend to prefer technologically advanced solutions to our challenges, such as transportation, care ought to be taken before we wholeheartedly embrace the new technologies. The Boeing 737 Max 8 experience offers a reminder that innovation, for all its worth, can get messy.
Analysts have attempted to tie some disasters to software glitches. The glitches can happen to anything else. They can happen to our national data, revenue or birth registrations.
We need to trust technology to ease work, but we should do thorough due diligence before wholesale acceptance and application of new technology.
We only hope that we are able to learn from the regrettable disasters so that we avoid them or do better in future. In the same breath, we would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of Ambassador Julius Onen, the fallen former permanent secretary in the ministry of Trade.
May the Almighty God rest his soul in eternal peace!