Families of Ethiopian Airlines Victims Protest in Ethiopia

Elias Hubbard
March 15, 2019

The French Bureau d'Enquêtes & d'Analyses said in a tweet that it had been asked to do the investigation but that any communication on the investigation progress was the responsibility of the Ethiopian authorities.

The French aviation safety watchdog will analyse the black boxes recovered from the Boeing 737 MAX's crash site, and, meanwhile, a host of countries have temporarily suspended the operation of the aircraft as the investigation continues. More than 40 countries, including the United States, have now grounded the planes or refused to let them into their airspace.

The data show both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. In October, a Lion Air plane of the same model carrying 189 people crashed into the sea off the coast of Indonesia, killing all on board.

Separately, the New York Times reported that doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to Nairobi was in trouble nearly immediately after takeoff as it lurched up and down by hundreds of feet at a time.

"Looking at the crash site photos, the aircraft appears to have nose-dived", Paul Gichinga, former head of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, told Reuters.

"In addition to the basic trainings given for 737 aircraft types, an additional training was given for the Max version", Tewolde said.

The information that black boxes contain helps explain 90 percent of all crashes, according to aviation experts.

Sunday's crash after take-off from Addis Ababa killed 157 people from 35 nations in the second such calamity involving Boeing's flagship new model in six months.

Firm answers about what caused the crash could take months.

Ethiopian Airlines did not respond to requests for comment on the handling of the site, but has assured the world it will investigate as quickly and seriously as possible. But only France and the United States have the experience gleaned from being present at nearly every crash involving an Airbus or Boeing respectively.

"We are not told what they have found so far", Faysal Hussein, whose cousin was killed, told The Associated Press.

About 200 family members of people who died on the crashed jet have stormed out of a briefing with Ethiopian Airlines officials, complaining that the airline has not given them adequate information.

At the crash scene in Hejere, about 50km from Addis Ababa, growing numbers of family members arrived, some wailing or beating their chests as a bulldozer navigated piles of debris. Blue plastic sheeting covered the wreckage of the plane.

The decision Thursday comes a day after the USA, where Boeing is based, issued an emergency order grounding the 737 Max 8.

An emergency response team from Israel, dispatched to Ethiopia to search for remains of victims of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, said they are frustrated because they have not been able to access the site where the plane crashed.

And in what may presage a raft of claims, Norwegian Air has said it will seek compensation from Boeing for costs and lost revenue after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX.

Boeing, the world's biggest planemaker, has said the 737 MAX is safe, though it plans to roll out a software upgrade in coming weeks.

The agency, which prides itself on making data-driven decisions, had maintained there was nothing to show the Boeing jets were unsafe, and flights continued. They have said it was unclear whether data could be retrieved. Trump spoke afterward with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg and Boeing signed on.

Nevertheless, the United States held out against suspension and Boeing affirmed its "full confidence" in the model. "First we will try to read the data", he said, adding that the first analyses could take between half a day and several days.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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