Ethiopian Airlines: Flight recorders recovered from crash site

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Investigators have found the flight data recorders from an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday.

The devices recovered at the crash site were the Boeing 737 Max 8’s cockpit voice recorder and digital flight data recorder.

The plane was en route from Addis Ababa to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, when it crashed six minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board.

Several airlines have grounded the Boeing model following the disaster.

The months-old aircraft came down near the town of Bishoftu, 60km (37 miles) south-east of the capital at 08:44 local time (05:44 GMT).

There were more than 30 nationalities on board the flight, including Kenyans, Ethiopians, Canadians and Britons.

Do we know how it happened?

The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines said.

“At this stage, we can’t rule out anything,” CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said. “We can’t also attribute the cause to anything because we’ll have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation.”

Map showing the flight path

Visibility was said to be good but air traffic monitor Flightradar24 reported that the plane’s “vertical speed was unstable after take-off”.

The pilot was named as Senior Capt Yared Getachew who Ethiopian Airlines said had a “commendable performance” with more than 8,000 hours in the air.

What do we know about the plane?

The 737 Max 8 aircraft has only been in commercial use since 2017.

The plane that crashed was among six of 30 that Ethiopian Airlines had ordered as part of its expansion. It underwent a “rigorous first check maintenance” on 4 February, the airline said in a statement.

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