"Black box" found near crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Depsite the nickname, black boxes are usually painted orange to aid in their recovery after a crash.
Image: Olli-Jukka Paloneva.

The black box cockpit voice recorder from an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed into the Mediterranean several weeks ago, killing all on board, has been found by search crews. The flight data recorder had been recovered earlier in the day. The bodies of eight victims were recovered from what is believed to be fuselage.

"We found it and retrieved it about an hour ago today," Lebanese army Brigadier Saleh Haj Suleiman said, as quoted by BusinessWeek. According to reports, the plane made a sharp turn and disappeared from the radar upon departure; Lebanese officials, however, say it's too early to conclude the crash was due to pilot error.

The black box records communication data, technical information such as speed, altitude, etc., as well as conversation in the airplane cockpit, which could help investigators determine why the jet crashed.

The boxes will be transported to France to be analysed, according to officials.

Flight ET409, which had departed from Beirut, Lebanon, was bound for Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on January 25 when it crashed into the waters of the Mediterranean Sea several minutes after takeoff, in inclement weather. All ninety people aboard were killed.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Ghazi Aridi told Reuters, "The priority now is searching for the rest of the bodies of victims." So far, the bodies of 23 victims have been recovered.

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