Black boxes from Ethiopia crash to go to Europe for analysis

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…No Boeing 737 Max 8 in Nigeria – Aviation Minister

The black boxes from a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane that crashed in Ethiopia, killing 157 people, will be sent to Europe for analysis, a spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines said on Wednesday.

“They will be taken to Europe,” Asrat Begashaw said.

He said it would be decided “today or tomorrow” which country would receive the boxes.

Asrat also said the pilot had reported flight control problems and had requested to return to Addis Ababa, from where the plane took off en route to Nairobi.

The March 10 crash has triggered a global backlash against the 737 MAX aircraft, with two-thirds of the fleet grounded by aviation authorities or airlines.

In October, the same model crashed in Indonesia minutes after take-off, killing 189 people and sparking concerns over automated flight systems.

Asrat said the pilot had been trained on the plane after the October Lion Air crash.

“They were trained, the manual updated and simulator training was completed,” he said.

He said Ethiopian Airlines would consider whether to proceed with an order for more 737 MAX 8s after the preliminary investigation, but that the relationship with Boeing remained close.

“It is very good, intact and even now they are here supporting us. The relationship is six decades old.”

In the meantime, the Federal Government says air travellers in the country have no reason to worry about the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as none is operational in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Aviation Senator, Hadi Sirika, gave the assurance in a statement on Tuesday, against the backdrop of the unfortunate crash of the Ethiopian Airline on Sunday, which killed the 157 people on board (149 passengers and eight crew members).

“As we continue to mourn the ET crash in Addis, and pray for the victims, we wish to reassure Nigerians that we do not have any Boeing 737 Max on Nigeria’s register to worry about,” he said.

While acknowledging that any accident anywhere is a tragedy to the global aviation industry, the minister said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has issued the necessary advisory as it relates to the country.

He also urged Nigerian air travellers not to entertain any fears, while assuring them of “the unalloyed commitment of the Buhari Administration to the creation of an environment that guarantees their safety and security in air transportation”.

Among the 149 passengers on board the plane, were two Nigerians – an academic and popular columnist, Pius Adesanmi, and a retired ambassador on contract with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Abiodun Bashua.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed about six minutes after take-off from the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, en route the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

At least nationals of about 35 countries were involved in the disaster.

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