Thursday 17 October 2019

Ethiopia to send crash plane’s black box abroad for analysis

The announcement came as much of the world grounded the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site.

Wreckage lies at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after take-off (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)
Wreckage lies at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after take-off (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed and killed all 157 people on board will be sent overseas for analysis, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman has said.

The announcement came as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site.

The airline said the data and voice records of the flight’s last moments will be analysed by experts in Europe.

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(PA Graphics)

“What we can say is we don’t have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia,” a spokesman said.

An airline official has said one recorder was partially damaged.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed in Ethiopia six minutes after take-off on Sunday. The disaster is the second with a Max 8 plane in just five months.

While some aviation experts have warned against drawing conclusions until more information on the latest crash emerges, much of the world, including the entire European Union, has grounded the Boeing jetliner or banned it from their airspace.

Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8s.

That leaves the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane.

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Chinese relatives of victims who died in the crash visit the scene (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

“Similar causes may have contributed to both events,” European regulators said, referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last year.

Others took action on Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet.

Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

US-based Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.

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(PA Graphics)

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with US President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said.

Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The Federal Aviation Administration also backed the jet’s airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data.

“Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA administrator Daniel K Elwell said in a statement. “Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”

Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in this crash could take months.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster said the plane appeared to have “slid directly into the ground”.

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