Thursday, February 11, 2010

ETHIOPIAN ACCIDENT UPDATE: Sabotage possibly behind Beirut plane crash

Ethiopian authorities and the Lebanese government officials exchanged blame on Wednesday, over the possible cause of the 25 January crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner taking off from Beirut.

"The accident is still under investigation. We cannot say anything until the investigations are complete," a spokesman for the Ethiopian Airlines (ET), told P A NA in a telephone interview, refuting reports that a pilot error could have caused he jetliner to crash.

The Ethiopian Airlines dismissed as speculative, remarks attributed to Lebanese officials, suggesting the pilot error may have caused the jet, a 737-800, to crash.

The investigation is still in its early stage and the CVR (Cockpit Voice Reco rder) and the aircraft wreckage are not yet retrieved for analysis; it is therefore, too early to conclude the cause of the accident, the Airlines said in a statement.

Ethiopian Airlines does not rule out all possible causes, including the possibility of sabotage until the final outcome of the investigation is known, is affirmed.

Lebanese authorities have suggested time and again that the Ethiopian Airlines Pilot flew to the wrong direction and made a sudden swing before the aircraft, with 90 people on board, suddenly disappeared from the radar.

The explanation contrasts with witness reports, which suggest the jetliner crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, in a flush flame, killing all on board.

The aircraft was captained by a career flight professional, who had flown various aircraft for over 20 years, ET said.

Airlines executives reiterated it was still premature to jump to conclusions on the possible causes of the crash.

The Ethiopian Airlines would like to express its position on the latest speculative reports released on the cause of the accident on ET-409, 25 January, said the statement posted on Ethiopian website Wednesday.

As a member of the investigation team, Ethiopian Airlines strictly adheres to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) annex 13 regulation, in which it is mandated to refrain from any inconclusive comments on the process of investigation.

Ethiopian Airlines would continue to cooperate with the investigation team to complete the process in accordance with the ICAO regulation and reveal the truth, the Airline said.

"We share the pain and sorrow of the families of our crew and dear passengers who have lost their lives in the accident, the airline said.

Sourced from Panapress Ethiopia

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