Pilot quickly called in Ethiopia plane emergency: NYT
ADDIS ABABA- The Associated Press
The pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed requested permission "in a panicky voice" to return to the airport shortly after takeoff, The New York Times reported on March 15.
The report cited "a person who reviewed air traffic communications" from the deadly flight saying controllers noticed the plane was moving up and down by hundreds of feet, with its speed appearing unusually fast.
An airline spokesman has said the pilot was given permission to return. But the plane crashed minutes later outside Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board.
French authorities now have the plane's flight data and voice recorders for analysis. The agency in charge of the review said it was unclear whether the data could be retrieved. Ethiopian Airlines said the investigation in France has begun into the flight data.
In Ethiopia, officials started taking DNA samples from victims' family members to assist in identifying remains.
Countries including the United States have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 as the U.S.-based company faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty software might have contributed to two crashes that killed 346 people in less than six months.
The decision to send the flight recorders to France was seen as a rebuke to the United States, which held out longer than most other countries in grounding the jets. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board sent three investigators to help French authorities.
Boeing executives announced that they had paused delivery of the Max, although the company planned to continue building the jets while it weighs the effect of the grounding on production.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes on March 13, saying regulators had new satellite evidence that showed the movements of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610. That flight crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.
The Max jets are likely to be idle for weeks while Boeing tries to assure regulators around the world that the planes are safe. At a minimum, aviation experts say, the plane maker will need to finish updating software that might have played a role in the crashes.