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Ethiopian Airlines Flight Recorders Sent to France for Examination

2019-3-14

The flight recorders from an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed Sunday have arrived in France to be studied.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737 Max 8, went down six minutes after leaving Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. All 157 people on the plane were killed. The crash has led more than 40 countries to ground 737 Max 8 planes or refuse to let the aircraft fly into their airspace.

Another 737 Max 8 crashed similarly in Indonesia last October. The Lion Air plane went down 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing 189 people.

Some countries began grounding Boeing’s 737 Max 8 hours after the Ethiopian Airlines crash. The United States Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, did so Wednesday. Officials said they had discovered new satellite information and evidence showing that movements of the Ethiopian Airlines plane were very similar to the Lion Air aircraft that crashed.

Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn and grieve at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south-east of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Thursday, March 14, 20
Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn and grieve at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south-east of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Thursday, March 14, 20

Officials at Lion Air have said sensors on the 737 Max 8 had been producing false information on flights that took place before the crash. The sensor issue caused the plane to go into a downward position, the officials said.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said its pilots had received special training on how to deal with the sensor problem. “After the Lion Air crash, questions were raised, so Boeing sent further instructions that it said pilots should know,” he said.

Boeing said it supported the FAA’s decision to ground 737 Max 8 planes, even though it continues to have what it called “full confidence” in the safety of the model.

Ethiopia is leading the investigation of Sunday’s crash. But France’s air accident investigation group, the BEA, will examine the plane’s flight information recorders, or black boxes. The BEA has a lot of experience with international air crashes, and is often sought in Airbus plane crashes because Airbus is based in France.

A BEA spokesman told Reuters he did not know what condition the black boxes were in. “First we will try to read the data,” he said. He added that the examination could take several days.

The victims in Sunday’s crash came from 35 counties.

On Thursday, about 200 angry family members walked out of a briefing by officials from Ethiopian Airlines. They said the airline was not providing enough information. Officials said a call center had been operating 18 hours a day to serve the families’ needs.

Some family members who lost loved ones decided to go to the crash site themselves.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

instruction n. direction or order

confidence n. feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

data n. information or facts