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Are we Any Closer to Knowing What Caused the Ethiopian Airlines Crash?

Tensions over how to characterize the findings of a probe into an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crash two years ago have prompted U.S. investigators to consider taking the unusual step of issuing separate comments with their own conclusions, according to people familiar with the probe. The Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau said Wednesday it plans to release a final report on the fatal crash of the Boeing Co. jet in the “near future” after lockdowns to contain the Covid-19 pandemic hampered the investigation. The update coincided with the two-year anniversary of the Ethiopian Airlines jet disaster outside Addis Ababa, which killed all 157 people on board. Looming in the background is disagreement over findings in the report, said two people familiar with the behind-the-scenes activity. They asked not to be named while discussing the highly sensitive talks between the two nations. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has been concerned about pilot actions during the fatal flight and how systems on the jet should be described, said one of the people. The Ethiopian report was still being discussed between local investigators and external stakeholders, said a third person with knowledge of the matter in Ethiopia who also asked not to be identified. While regulators in the European Union, U.K., U.A.E. and others have since followed suit, others are more circumspect. China, a major market for Boeing, still has safety concerns and said this month it’s awaiting conclusions from the Ethiopia probe.