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Crashed Ethiopian plane’s black box recovered

Navy commandos have recovered the flight recorders from the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed off the coast of Lebanon last month, killing all 90 people on board.

The Lebanese military says navy commandos retrieved the jet’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder on Sunday.

The recorders were taken to a Beirut naval base, where they were given to investigators.  The two “black boxes” will be flown to France for analysis.

Lebanese Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi said searchers also located the cockpit and parts of the fuselage Sunday. Eight more bodies from the crash were recovered, bringing the total to 23.

The Boeing 737 went down January 25 just minutes after takeoff from Beirut during a heavy thunderstorm.  The plane was headed for Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

The plane abruptly changed direction shortly after take-off, and officials have said the pilot was unresponsive to appeals to correct its course.  But Lebanese and Ethiopian officials have cautioned against blaming the pilot until the flight recorders are reviewed.

The jet broke apart in mid-air, erupted into flames and crashed into the sea.

Ethiopian Airlines is considered one of Africa’s best carriers.  It operates regular flights to Lebanon, where thousands of Ethiopians work.

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