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US Pressure Grows After Britain, Germany Join Countries Grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8

Boeing 737 Max 8 planes are being grounded (AP Photo)

Global concerns are growing over the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft after the Ethiopian Airlines crash which killed all 157 passengers and crew on board.

Germany and Britain joined a growing list of countries Tuesday that are grounding the planes or banning them from their airspace.  

"Until all doubts are cleared up, I have ordered that German airspace be closed for the Boeing 737 MAX with immediate effect," said German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.

Concerns about the safety of the MAX 8 are rising after the aircraft crashed Sunday morning shortly after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya. It follows a similar crash of a Lion Air jet of the same model in Indonesian seas last year which killed 189 people.

Former National Transportation Safety Board investigator Alan Diehl says large variations in vertical speed during the Ethiopian jetliner's ascent were "clearly suggesting a potential controllability problem."

Other possible causes include engine problems, pilot error, weight load, sabotage or bird strikes, he said.

Several US senators are calling for the United States to take action to ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes as well.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) tweeted, "Out of an abundance of caution for the flying public, the @FAANews should ground the 737 MAX 8 until we investigate the causes of recent crashes and ensure the plane's airworthiness."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) tweeted, "The FAA & the airline industry must act quickly & decisively to protect American travelers, pilots, & flight attendants. All Boeing 737 Max 8s should be grounded until American travels can be assured that these planes are safe."

Numerous Asian, Middle Eastern and European nations and carriers have taken steps to ground the planes, including China, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia and Singapore.

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