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29 February 2024

Ethiopian pilot pleaded for training weeks before Max crash

Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. (AFP)


Emails obtained by The Associated Press show an Ethiopian Airlines pilot pleaded with his bosses for more training on the Boeing 737 Max just weeks before one of the airline's jets crashed.

Veteran pilot Bernd Kai von Hoesslin began emailing managers at Ethiopian just days after a Max operated by Lion Air went down in Indonesia last October, killing all 189 on board.

He warned that without more training, specifically on the Max's problematic anti-stall system, Ethiopian's pilots could be overwhelmed in a crisis and "it will be a crash for sure."

On March 10, an Ethiopian Max crashed, killing all 157 people aboard.

What the airline did in response to von Hoesslin's warnings is unclear, and whether it made any difference is a matter of dispute. But his emails have added to the debate over what role pilot error may have played in the two disasters.