SEATTLE -- New safety questions are being raised about the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft after one took off from Ethiopia Sunday and crashed just six minutes into the flight, killing all 157 people on board.
It's the second crash of the new 737 MAX 8 aircraft in just six months. This Boeing MAX was delivered to Ethiopian airlines in November.
Now the National Transportation Safety Board is assisting in the investigation.
This is the second total loss for a plane that has been flying less than two years.
The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines says the pilot sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return.
“All we know is this plane hit the ground and right before that, the radio transmission is they wanted to return to the field," said Aviation analyst John Nance, former airline pilot and U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. "And there was no explanation of why."
The new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane was one of the 30 planes Ethiopian Airlines just purchased.
“The thing that makes the 737 so special is more power, more speed, higher altitude,” said Nance.
The Boeing 737-800 MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed soon after takeoff from Jakarta last October.
Some wonder if there’s a connection between the two plane crashes. Nance says those were two very different accidents.
“When you look at these two accidents, they are wildly dissimilar, even though we know very little about this one at this point," Nance said. "In the first accident, Lion Air, the pilots were inadequately trained."
He added, “the accident at Lion Air -- basically two switches that every guy should know how to sweep off and these guys did not have the training that bears no resemblance to what happened here."
At this point, Nance says he doesn’t see any red flags about this particular type of plane the MAX 8.
“But, we have to watch as the accident investigation develops because maybe something will show up. I don’t see any earmarks of a failure of the airplane at this point,” said Nance.
Boeing released a statement Sunday saying it extends its sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board. A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide assistance under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
The Boeing 737 MAX involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash is used by many airlines worldwide like American Airlines, Norweigan, and Fly-Dubai.