US aviation officials think a bird strike to the sensor was factor in Ethiopian airlines 737 Max crash

U.S. aviation officials believe a bird strike may have led to the deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max in March, according to a person familiar with the matter. Boeing shares rose after the report Tuesday, gaining 1.2% by midday. The fast-selling Boeing 737 Max airplanes have been grounded since shortly after that accident, which came less than five months after a similar crash in Indonesia. Together, the two crashes killed 346 people.

U.S. aviation officials think a bird strike is the likely culprit in what led to erroneous sensor data fed to the anti-stall system in the Ethiopian crash, the person said. Ethiopian Airlines has said, however, that a preliminary crash investigation report showed “no evidence of any foreign object damage” such as a bird strike, to the sensor.

While the investigation is ongoing and a final cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash has not yet been determined, Boeing’s anti-stall system is under fire and the plane’s approval by regulators is the subject of numerous investigations by U.S. lawmakers and federal officials.

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