The Latest: Ethiopian airline defends pilots' training

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The Latest on the Ethiopian plane crash (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Ethiopian Airlines says its pilots went through all the extra training required by Boeing and the U.S. aviation regulator to fly the 737 Max 8 jet that crashed this month, killing all 157 passengers.

CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said Thursday that the airline’s pilots completed the training meant to help them shift from an older model to the newer 737 Max 8.

He said the pilots were also made aware of an emergency directive issued by the U.S. regulator, the FAA, following the crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 owned by Indonesia’s Lion Air last year.

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As investigators look into the crashes, attention has turned to a new software in the jets that can push their nose down in some circumstances.

The New York Times reported that the pilots of the Ethiopian plane never trained in a simulator for the plane.

Gebremariam said that the 737 Max simulator is not designed to simulate problems in the new jet software. He declined, however, to say whether the pilots had trained on the simulator.

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6:50 p.m.

The families of Kenyan victims of the Ethiopian plane crash are asking their government for legal assistance in pursuing compensation.

In an emotional gathering Thursday in the capital of Nairobi, the victims’ relatives asked for lawyers to help them pursue their case. One of them, Erick Mwangi, spoke of what could be an “expensive and tedious” legal battle.

Kenya’s foreign ministry is advising them to “come together as a group” as the attorney general takes up the matter. He said the government will assist in obtaining death certificates for the victims.

Ethiopian Airlines on Thursday urged patience as an investigation into the March 10 crash of its Boeing Max 8 plane continues. Thirty-two Kenyans were among the 157 victims of the plane crash.

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The Boeing Max planes have since been grounded.

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