Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Sunday, March 10, 2019. The Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 on board, authorities said, as grieving families rushed to airports in Addis Ababa and the destination, Nairobi. (AP Photo)

Ethiopian Airlines says analysis of flight recorders begins

French authorities now have the plane’s flight data and voice recorders for analysis

Analysis of the flight recorders of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane has begun, the airline said Friday, and The New York Times reported that the pilot requested permission “in a panicky voice” to return to the airport shortly after takeoff as the plane dipped up and down sharply and appeared to gain startling speed.

The report cited “a person who reviewed air traffic communications” from Sunday’s flight saying controllers noticed the plane was moving up and down by hundreds of feet.

An airline spokesman has said the pilot was given permission to return. But the plane crashed minutes later outside Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board.

French authorities now have the plane’s flight data and voice recorders for analysis. They have said it was unclear whether data could be retrieved. The data recorder appeared to show damage. Ethiopian Airlines said an Ethiopian delegation led by its chief accident investigator had arrived in Paris.

In Ethiopia, officials started taking DNA samples from victims’ family members to assist in identifying remains. The dead came from 35 countries.

Countries including the United States have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 as the U.S.-based company faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty software might have contributed to two crashes that killed 346 people in less than six months.

The decision to send the flight recorders to France was seen as a rebuke to the United States, which held out longer than most other countries in grounding the jets. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board sent three investigators to help French authorities.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said regulators had new data from the satellite-based tracking that showed the movements of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610. That flight crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.

READ MORE: Anguished families of Ethiopian plane crash victims find nothing to bury

The data show both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Both crews tried to return to the airport.

Boeing said it supports the grounding of its planes as a precautionary step, while reiterating its “full confidence” in the safety of the 737 Max. Engineers are making changes to the system designed to prevent an aerodynamic stall if sensors detect that the jet’s nose is pointed too high and its speed is too slow.

Boeing also announced it had paused delivery of the Max, although the company planned to continue building the jets.

The Max is the latest upgrade to the Boeing 737s. Because its engines are larger and heavier, they are placed higher and farther forward on the wings. That created concern that the plane might be slightly more prone to an aerodynamic stall if not flown properly, so Boeing developed software to prevent that.

Investigators looking into the Indonesian crash are examining whether the software automatically pushed the plane’s nose down repeatedly, and whether the Lion Air pilots knew how to solve that problem. Ethiopian Airlines says its pilots received special training on the software.

At the crash site in Hejere, about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Addis Ababa, searchers continued to pick through the debris. Blue plastic sheeting covered the wreckage of the plane. Students from an elementary school walked an hour and a half to the site to pay respects.

Anxious family members began giving DNA samples and waited for news on the identification of remains. Members of Israel’s ZAKA emergency response team were granted access to the site for forensic work.

Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Antione Chevrier, told The Associated Press that discussions on repatriating remains would begin once the identification process begins to yield results. “The next steps will take some time,” he said. Canada lost 18 people.

“We are not told what they have found so far,” Ethiopian citizen Faysal Hussein, whose cousin was killed, told the AP. “We are sitting here like forever. We were taken to the crash site on Wednesday but not allowed to get a closer look.”

One relative collected soil in a plastic bag, perhaps for lack of anything else .

A Kenyan citizen, Pauline Gathu, lost a brother. Thirty-two Kenyans were killed.

“We were expecting that we will have our body well-kept but we are amazed to hear that there is nothing, totally nothing,” she said. “And people are waiting for us to give them reports of what we have found but we don’t have words, we don’t know what to do.”

Elias Meseret and Mulugeta Ayene, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cowichan United punches ticket to provincial U21 tournament

Cowichan United beat the odds to qualify for the U21 soccer provincial… Continue reading

Indian Day School students looking at $10K apiece in new compensation agreement

Individual students could get as much as $10K each, but must meet criteria

Cowichan Tribes cannabis partnership aims high

Costa Canna plans to open first store in Cowichan Valley and expand beyond

VIDEO: Award-winning cellist, Rebecca Wenham, performs at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Principal cellist at Vancouver Opera, she brings a show called ‘Cellicious’ to Duncan

Duncan’s Quamichan Lightning go to provincials

The result might not have been what they were hoping for, but… Continue reading

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Most Read