Investigators have found the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder of the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed on Sunday killing 157 people. The black box will provide the first clues as to what caused the Ethiopian Airlines plane to crash just six minutes after takeoff.
U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will also arrive at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Tuesday to assist.
The remains of the aircraft sit in a crater about the size of a basketball court. Kenyan Red Cross officials are on site searching through debris and body parts. Two piles of debris were created for inspections. Hundreds of local residents have surrounded the site.
Eyewitnesses to the crash say that the plane was “swerving and dipping” and belching smoke as it came down. Gebeyehu Fikadu who was collecting firewood on the mountains said, “Before it crashed the plane was swerving and dipping with a lot of smoke coming from the back and also making a very loud unpleasant sound before hitting the ground.”
The plane was en route from Addis Ababa to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, when it crashed six minutes after take-off. The aircraft was a month old, and passengers from 32 nationalities were on board the flight.
The cause of the crash was still unknown. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines said. The visibility seemed good, no unusual weather patterns or such were detected. The captain of the flight Yared Getachew had a “commendable performance” with more than 8,000 hours in the air.
The 737 Max 8 aircraft has only been in commercial use since 2017. This was the 6th Boeing 737 Max 8 off the 30 planes ordered by Ethiopian Airlines. The flight had undergone a rigorous first maintenance check on 4th of February.
Following the crash several airlines have grounded the Boeing model following the disaster. China and Indonesia grounded all their 737 Max 8. However several North American airlines had continued to have confidence in the aircraft, but were monitoring the investigations closely.
Shares in Boeing fell by 12.9% in the wake of the crash.