Ethiopia crash black boxes arrive in France for analysis
Flight data recorders from a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight arrived in France for analysis on Thursday as frustrated relatives of the 157 people killed stormed out of a meeting with airline officials in Addis Ababa.
Sunday's crash was the second fatal flight for a Boeing 737 Max 8 in less than six months. More than 40 countries, including the US, have now grounded the planes or refused to let them into their airspace.
After holding out for several days, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order grounding the planes on Wednesday, saying they had new satellite data and evidence that showed the movements of the Ethiopian Airlines plane were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610. That flight crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.
Officials at Lion Air have said sensors on their plane produced erroneous information on its last four flights, triggering an automatic nose-down command that the pilots were unable to overcome on its final voyage.
Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Tewolde Gebremariam, said its pilots had received special training on how to deal with that problem. "In addition to the basic trainings given for 737 aircraft types, an additional training was given for the Max version," Tewolde said. "After the Lion Air crash, questions were raised, so Boeing sent further instructions that it said pilots should know."
Tewolde said he is confident the investigation will reveal that the crash is not related to the safety record of Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as the best-managed in Africa.
Firm answers about what caused the crash could take months. The French air accident investigation authority, known by its French acronym BEA, said on Thursday it will handle the analysis of the flight data recorders, often called black boxes, retrieved from the crash site.