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Crashed Ethiopian Airlines jetliner powered by locally produced engines

CFM International assisting with investigation
Posted at 11:18 AM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-11 12:50:02-04

CINCINNATI — A statement from the Cincinnati-based CFM International says the jet engine supplier is working with Ethiopian Airlines and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board to investigate Sunday’s jetliner crash that killed 157 people.

CFM International designs and produces the LEAP and CFM56 engines. It’s a joint company between Safran and GE Aviation.

In a statement, a spokesperson says the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane that crashed was powered by CFM LEAP-1B engines.

People from 35 countries died in the crash six minutes after the plane took off from Ethiopia's capital for Nairobi.

"CFM extends its deepest condolences to those affected by this tragedy," the CFM spokesperson said.

Ethiopian Airlines said the senior pilot issued a distress call and was told to return but all contact was lost shortly afterward. The plane plowed into the ground at Hejere near Bishoftu, scattering debris like a shredded book, a battered passport and business cards in multiple languages.

The plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders were found, Ethiopian Airlines said. An airline official, however, said one of the recorders was partially damaged and "we will see what we can retrieve from it." The official spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to speak to the media.

Ethiopian authorities are leading the investigation into the crash, assisted by the U.S., Kenya and others. A CFM International flight safety team member is overseas to assist as well.

It is the second time in less than six months that a Boeing 737 Max 8 has crashed within minutes of takeoff, after a new Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 flight went down over the Java Sea last October, killing 189 people.

Both crashes are under investigation and there is no evidence of a link between the two, but similarities between the incidents have prompted caution among some aviation authorities and airlines.

There are approximately 350 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in operation worldwide, being flown by 54 operators, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities in Ethiopia, China and Indonesia grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft Monday following the crash.

READ MORE: Is your airline still flying the Boeing 737 Max 8?

Chicago-based Boeing said it did not intend to issue any new guidance to its customers. It plans to send a technical team to the crash site to help Ethiopian and U.S. investigators, however, and issued a statement saying it was "deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew" on the Ethiopian Airlines Max airplane.

"Safety is our No. 1 priority and we are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved," the company said in a statement.

The 737 is the best-selling airliner in history, and the Max, the newest version of it with more fuel-efficient engines, is a central part of Boeing's strategy to compete with European rival Airbus.

The LEAP engine supports 25-minute gate turnaround times and delivers 15 percent fuel efficiency, according to CFM International’s website.

Read the full statement from CFM below:

CFM International Statement by WCPO Web Team on Scribd

CNN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.