The death of 157 people in the Boeing jet crash demands an urgent probe when an identical 737 model plunged into the sea only five months ago.
There were no survivors in the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, which happened six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.
In October, 189 people died when another new Boeing 737 Max, operated by Lion Air, hit the sea close to Indonesia after leaving Jakarta airport only 13 minutes earlier.
It is either a grim coincidence or a worrying warning of something intrinsically wrong.
The US manufacturer must co-operate fully and it is in everybody’s interests that international air accident investigators discover what happened as early as possible.
And if mechanical failures or design faults are responsible, rather than pilot errors, it may be necessary to ground fleets worldwide.