Investigators have recovered both flight recorders from the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 that crashed just outside Addis Ababa, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew, the carrier said on Monday.”The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of ET302 have been Recovered,” the state-owned airline announced on Twitter.
An airline official, however, said that the so-called black boxes are “partially damaged” and that “we will see what we can retrieve from it”. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which was bound for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, came down minutes after taking off from Ethiopia on Sunday.
Ethiopia, China, and Indonesia grounded their entire fleets of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft on Monday, while a number of airlines across the world are carrying out safety measures on the jets It was not immediately clear what caused the crash of the recently-acquired Boeing 737 MAX 8 model, which was involved in another aviation disaster in Indonesia last year.
Shortly after take-off at 05:38 GMT, the pilot reported an unspecified issue and was given permission to return to the Ethiopian capital’s Bole airport. Minutes later, communication was lost and the plane plunged to the ground near the city of Bishoftu. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from the Ethiopian capital said the discovery of the black box recorders would give “investigators the possibility of getting a definitive conclusion on what might have caused the aircraft to crash and kill all those people”.
Ethiopian aviation experts and investigators have been assisted by Kenyan and US experts. Forensic experts from Israel also arrived on Monday in Ethiopia to help with the investigation, Ethiopians Airlines spokesman Asrat Begashaw said. “All of them have been putting together efforts not only in the search for these voice recorders, but also the mission of collecting body parts that are strewn in an area several kilometres apart,” he added. Ethiopian airlines, which has got a good overall safety record, is promising a very quick investigation.
Search for remains
Air crash investigators and Red Cross workers spent Monday retrieving remains and personal items belonging to the 157 victims, of 35 different nationalities, who were on flight ET302. Begashaw, the carrier spokesperson, said searching and digging to uncover body parts and aircraft debris would continue. Among those killed were 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians and 9 Ethiopians and United Nations staff.
Relatives of Kenyan victims told Al Jazeera that government officials will give them more information on Thursday about whether some of them are going to travel to Ethiopia to follow developments from there, and when the bodies of their loved ones are going to be brought back home for burial. “Families are being told that it’s a very difficult process just identifying some of these bodies that are badly charred,” Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi, reporting from the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi said.