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

Cyclist struck in downtown Victoria

Lack of visibility likely the cause of early morning crash

Esquimalt council approves building, dog areas for Gorge Park

$7 million in funding for waterfront improvements goes to multipurpose building and dog park

VicPD volunteers check more than 16,000 vehicles in effort to stop thefts

Police report increase in theft from vehicle reports in last six months

Weaver joins climate strike teens on Oak Bay High panel

Oak Bay hosts 24 Hours of Reality presentation

Sunny skies ahead for Thursday

Plus a look ahead at the weekend’s forecast

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Shatner, Obomsawin among 39 inductees to Order of Canada today

Shatner is being given one of Canada’s highest civilian honours for his 60-year career

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

Teacher tells B.C. Supreme Court that student was ‘happy’ to watch smudging ceremony in classroom

Case being heard in Nanaimo over indigenous cultural practice in Port Alberni classroom

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

Four arrested after report of shots fired in Nanaimo

RCMP arrest four suspects in high-risk takedown in Cedar

South Cariboo Driver hits four cows due to fog

The RCMP’s investigation is ongoing

Most Read