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Ethiopia to release final report on the Boeing 737 Max crash

Ethiopia plans to release a final report on the fatal crash of a Boeing Co. 737 Max in the country in the "near future" after lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the investigation. /VCG

Ethiopia plans to release a final report on the fatal crash of a Boeing Co. 737 Max in the country in the "near future" after lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the investigation.

Work by the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau is ongoing and in the final stages, the transport ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page Wednesday, without giving a publication date. 

The update was timed to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the Ethiopian Airlines jet disaster outside Addis Ababa, which killed all 157 people on board.

The incident followed another fatal Max crash in Indonesia the previous year and led to regulators grounding the model worldwide, plunging Boeing into crisis. The U.S. planemaker has since made revisions to the model and addressed safety concerns, and the jet was cleared to return to the skies in its home market late last year.

Ethiopia's final report will build on interim findings released a year ago. Investigators had then planned to say Boeing's design and inadequate pilot training led to the crash, but those conclusions were dropped after push back from the U.S. and France, Bloomberg reported at the time.

The interim conclusions did highlight the role of a malfunctioning safety feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, to which Boeing has since made several changes.

Meanwhile, families of the crash victims are planning a series of events to commemorate the second anniversary. Representatives are planning to meet with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in Washington, protest outside a Boeing office in nearby Virginia and hold an hour-long vigil outside the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration offices.