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US to take action if Boeing 737 MAX safety issue found

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Washington, March 12 (IANS) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US has announced that it will take "immediate and appropriate action" once it identifies any issue affecting the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX, following the accident in Ethiopia that killed 157 people, eight of them US citizens. 

In a statement released on Twitter on Monday, the FAA confirmed that a team from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are in the area of the accident collecting data and keeping in contact with civil aviation authorities, Efe news reported.

The FAA later issued a "Continuing Airworthiness Notification to the International Community for Boeing 737 MAX operators," which is the US regulator’s way of communicating with its counterparts around the world on safety issues.

On Monday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China ordered the airlines of this country to suspend the use of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 after the accident of Ethiopian Airlines.

The Ministry of Transport of Indonesia, the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia and Ethiopian Airlines also joined the suspension, as did Cayman Airlines.

The FAA noted that it "continuously assesses and oversees the safety performance of US commercial aircraft," and assured that if it identifies "an issue that affects safety," it will adopt "immediate and appropriate action."

The US Department of State reported that at least eight Americans were among the victims on the plane that crashed on Sunday, shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi.

According to State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino, the US Embassies in Addis Ababa and Nairobi, along with the National Transportation Security Board, are working with the Ethiopian Government and Ethiopian Airlines to "offer all possible assistance".

Last October, another Boeing 737 MAX 8, from the Indonesian low-cost airline Lion Air, crashed into the Java Sea killing 189 people and on that occasion the black box revealed failures in the automated system.

On Monday, Wall Street Boeing shares fell 10.82 percent on Wall Street in reaction to the accident on Sunday, the second in half a year involving one of its model 737 aircraft.