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Findings from fatal Ethiopian Airlines' black boxes illustrate "catastrophic failure"

Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

"Pitch up, pitch up!" one pilot declared to another before the cockpit radio went dead, per a Wall Street Journal report on Friday that chronicled the minutes from takeoff to nosedive of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302, described with new details by people surrounding the ongoing investigations, pilots and airlines executives.

Details: The preliminary consensus deduced that an automated stall-prevention MCAS system activated due to invalid sensor inputs, pushing the nose of the plane downward per reports from data retrieved from the flight's black boxes.

Timeline of Ethiopian Airlines fatal March 10 flight per the WSJ:

  • At 8:38 am, Captain Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmed Nur Mohammed took off from Addis Ababa's highland airport en route to Nairobi.
  • By 8:39 am, the plane ascended to 8,100 feet above sea level and the nose began to pitch downward.
  • By 8:40 am, the fluctuations were out of control.
  • At 8:44 am, the airliner began diving, crashed only 30 miles from the airport, and all 157 passengers were killed immediately.

Go deeper: Ethiopian Airlines investigation indicates Boeing software system may have caused crash