Ethiopian Airlines crash investigators recovered black box

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Investigators in Ethiopia have recovered the black box of the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.

Ethiopian state television on Monday said the black box recovered is the cockpit voice recorder.

The Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board, raising questions about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, a new model that also crashed in Indonesia in October last year.

Indonesia said it would monitor its airlines operating the 737 MAX 8, which include Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia but did not mention any plan to ground them.

Garuda Chief Executive Ari Ashkhara said the national carrier was operating its one 737 MAX 8 with extra inspection procedures on the airspeed and altitude, flight control and stall management systems.

Lion Air declined to comment, Singapore Airlines Limited, whose regional arm SilkAir operates the 737 MAX 8, said it was monitoring the situation closely, but its planes would operate as scheduled.

South Korea is conducting an emergency inspection on Eastar Jet’s two 737 MAX 8 jets, a transport ministry official said.

The airline could not be reached immediately for comment.

On Monday, Ethiopian Airlines, Cayman Airways and China’s aviation regulator all grounded their fleets of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, following Sunday’s plane crash.

In a statement posted on its official social media accounts, Ethiopian Airlines said it was grounding the 737-8 fleet until further notice, as an “extra safety precaution” even though it did not know the cause of Sunday’s crash.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said all Chinese airlines had to suspend their use of the 737 MAX 8 by 6 p.m. (1000 GMT).

The CAAC said it would notify airlines as to when they could resume flying the jets after contacting Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure flight safety.

“Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity,” the CAAC said, adding that the order was in line with its principle of zero-tolerance on safety hazards.

Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash was the second of the 737 MAX 8, the latest version of Boeing’s workhorse narrow body jet that first entered service in 2017.

In October, a 737 MAX 8 operated by Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air crashed 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta on a domestic flight, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.

Hauwa Mustapha