Ethiopia to send black boxes from crashed jet abroad for analysis
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Ethiopia to send black boxes from crashed jet abroad for analysis

Second of two Israelis killed in the crash near Addis Ababa identified as Shimon Re’em, 55, from Zichron Ya’acov

A grieving relative who lost his wife in the crash is helped by a member of security forces and others at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, March 13, 2019. (AP/Mulugeta Ayene)
A grieving relative who lost his wife in the crash is helped by a member of security forces and others at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, March 13, 2019. (AP/Mulugeta Ayene)

The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed and killed all 157 people on board will be sent overseas for analysis, but no country has been chosen, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site.

Asrat Begashaw said the airline has “a range of options” for the data and voice records of the flight’s last moments. “What we can say is we don’t have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia,” he said. An airline official said one recorder was partially damaged.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. The disaster is the second with a Max 8 plane in just five months.

The second of two Israelis killed in the crash near Addis Ababa was identified Tuesday evening as Shimon Re’em, 55, a father of five from the northern coastal town of Zichron Ya’acov.

Members of Israel’s Zaka rescue and recovery team at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 jet south of Addis Ababa March 12, 2019 . (AP/Mulugeta Ayene)

On Monday the first Israeli victim was identified as Avraham Matsliah, a father of two from Ma’ale Adumim. Matsliah, 49, left behind a wife and two twin daughters who are both currently serving in the Israeli military.

While some aviation experts have warned against drawing conclusions until more information on the latest crash emerges, much of the world, including the entire European Union, has grounded the Boeing jetliner or banned it from their airspace. Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8s.

That leaves the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane.

“Similar causes may have contributed to both events,” European regulators said, referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last year.

Shimon Reem, killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10, 2019 (Courtesy)

Others took action on Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

The Israeli Airports Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it was considering closing Israel’s airspace to the Boeing 737 Max 8. Neither of Israel’s two airline companies, El Al or Arkia, list the model among the planes in their fleets.

The US-based Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.

Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with US President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said. Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

Avraham Matsliah, 49, from Ma’ale Adumim, was killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight near Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019. (Facebook)

The Federal Aviation Administration also backed the jet’s airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data. “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement. “Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”

A. Patrick Smith, a Boeing 767 pilot who writes a column called “Ask the Pilot,” says passengers ask him if the 737 Max is safe. He tells them it is, and he hasn’t heard of any pilots who worry about flying the plane.

“We have two accidents, we somewhat understand one, and we don’t know what happened in the second case at all,” Smith says. “It’s just too early to be jumping to the conclusion of the plane being defective to the point that it’s unsafe.”

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 being built for for Shanghai Airlines sits parked at Boeing Co.’s Renton Assembly Plant, Monday, March 11, 2019, in Renton, Wash. (AP/Ted S. Warren)

Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in this crash could take months.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster told the AP that the plane appeared to have “slid directly into the ground.”

Begashaw, the Ethiopian Airlines spokesman, said that the remains of victims recovered so far were in freezers and that forensic DNA work for identifications had not yet begun.

The dead came from 35 countries. The airline has said identifying them should take five days.

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