Safety concerns grow over Boeing 737 MAX 8s after fatal crash; countries ground jets

Posted at 12:04 PM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-11 19:31:46-04

There are growing safety concerns about Boeing's best-selling plane, following a second crash involving the plane in less than five months.

On Sunday, 157 people died, including 8 Americans, after a Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed in Ethiopia. In October, 189 died when the same kind of plane crashed into the sea off Indonesia.

Investigators are now looking into the similarities. Both jets were Boeing 737 MAX 8s, and both flights crashed shortly after take-off. Pilots on both flights and tried returning to the airport prior to crashing.

“Absolutely there are concerns, and the alarms should be and are going off all throughout the aviation industry,” says Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The crashes remain under investigation, and it's not known if any of the same factors contributed to either crash.

But out of caution, China and Indonesia have grounded the planes. Some foreign airlines have also suspended the use of the planes.

In the U.S., American and Southwest airlines both use the 737 Max 8 planes but are still flying them.

“For as long as the airlines continue flying the planes, it's because they feel it's safe,” says aviation expert Seth Kaplan. “There's so much risk here. Not just for safety, but for their businesses.”

Today, Boeing issued a statement saying, in part, "… based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators."

Still, nervous fliers in the U.S. are sharing their concerns on social media about their fears of flying on the plane.

“You cannot blame people for being concerned,” Kaplan says. “On the other hand, you do have a U.S. airline industry that's as safe as it's ever been.”

Investigators recovered the black box and data recorders in the latest crash and hope to get early clues into what may have happened.

If you're booked on a flight, here's how to know if you'll be flying on a Boeing 737 MAX 8, according to CNN:

1. Check your airline site or app. Clicking on the flight number will show you what type of airplane is assigned to the flight.

2. Check the registration of the airplane on the FAA site. Before you board, note the registration number which is clearly marked on the side of the plane. Plug that number into the FAA registration data base here.

3. Aviation apps such as FlightRadar24make it easy to see the type of airplane on which you're scheduled to fly. Look up your flight number or use the app filter function to track all 737 MAX 8s and any other aircraft.