The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will take the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed outside Addis Ababa on Sunday to Washington, D.C., for analysis by the end of the week, according to officials from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA). Although the ECAA has taken the lead in the investigation, it does not have the instrumentation and expertise needed to conduct the analyses.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Transport and ECAA established a national accident investigation committee that commenced work on Monday. Experts from Boeing, the NTSB, and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch arrived at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday morning to assist Ethiopian authorities on the accident investigation process. A team of experts from the NTSB held discussions with the minister of transport, Dagmawit Moges, and the director general of the ECAA, Wossenyeleh Hunegnaw, on how best to collaborate on the investigation process.
Sources close to the investigation process told AIN that both NTSB and AAIB requested to take the recorders to work on the data interpretation process. However, due to the longstanding cooperation between Ethiopia and the U.S. in the aviation sector, Ethiopian aviation authorities will opt to send the black box to Washington. The ECAA’s chief accident investigator and a senior captain from Ethiopian Airlines will accompany experts from the NTSB to the U.S. The U.S. lost eight nationals in the crash of Flight ET302, in which a total of 157 passengers and crew perished. Seven Britons died in the crash.
A senior ECAA official told AIN on Monday that the FDR incurred partial damage. However, he said that the memory chip could still be intact. “It is the outer part which is affected,” he said. “Experts of the NTSB will put the memory chip in another instrument and read the data.”