Crashed Ethiopian jet's data box recovered
Beirut, February 7, 2010
Search teams retrieved a flight recorder belonging to an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed off the coast of Lebanon last month killing all 90 people aboard, the Lebanese Transport Minister said on Sunday.
A security official earlier told Reuters that Lebanese navy commandos had recovered the black boxes which were transported to Beirut's naval base and handed to the investigating team.
Minister Ghazi Aridi later said the search teams found only one data recorder and they were looking for the second.
'The priority now is searching for the rest of the bodies of victims,' Aridi told Reuters.
The Boeing 737-800 plane, carrying mostly Lebanese and Ethiopian passengers, crashed minutes after taking off from Beirut in stormy weather, plunging in a ball of fire into the sea. It was bound for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The flight recorders should provide a clearer picture on why the pilot failed to respond to the control tower's request to change direction even though he acknowledged their commands.
The plane had apparently made a sharp turn before disappearing off the radar. Lebanese officials have said it was too early to draw any conclusion of pilot error.
Lebanese and international teams, including a US navy vessel, have been searching the Mediterranean along the southern Beirut coast for bodies and wreckage.
They have managed to retrieve the plane's rear wings and the cockpit in the last 24 hours.
Stormy weather has hampered their search several times in the last two weeks. At least 15 bodies have been recovered since the crash, mostly of Lebanese passengers.
The eight-year-old plane last had a maintenance check on December 25 and no technical problems were found. – Reuters