Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Sunday, 7 February 2010

Ethiopia Airlines jet 'black box' retrieved in Lebanon

Lebanese marine commando units off Naameh, south of Beirut, Lebanon, 6 Feb
Lebanese navy divers located the box on Saturday

Lebanese search teams have retrieved the flight data recorder from the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed in the Mediterranean, officials say.

The Boeing 737 crashed on 25 January, minutes after take-off from Beirut airport during a fierce thunderstorm, killing all 90 people on board.

An army official said the recorder was taken to a naval base in Beirut to be handed over to crash investigators.

The search continues for the cockpit voice recorder and 75 missing bodies.

Difficult search

Passenger jets carry two recorders - a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder - commonly referred to as "black boxes".

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800
State-owned carrier flying to 56 destinations
First crash since 1996, when hijacked plane ditched into sea off Comoros
Good safety record, considered an exception among African airlines

Lebanon's Transport Minister, Ghazi Aridi, said he hoped the voice recorder and the missing bodies would be recovered soon.

The recorders will be sent to France's accident investigation agency BEA, he told the AFP news agency.

Mr Aridi announced on Saturday that searchers had located the recorder at a depth of 150ft (45m) off the coastal village of Naameh, just south of Beirut airport.

Since then, searchers had also located the plane's rear wings and cockpit, and work was continuing to bring them to the surface, he said.

The cause of the crash is not yet known. Lebanese officials have said the jet did not fly in the direction instructed by the Beirut control tower.

The recorder could shed light on why the pilot failed to respond to the control tower's request, even though he acknowledged their commands.

A technical committee composed of Lebanese, Ethiopian and French experts is charged with investigating the crash.

Seven crew and 83 passengers were on board the Boeing 737-800. Most were Lebanese or Ethiopian.

Only 15 bodies have been recovered since the crash, but stormy weather has hampered searchers.

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China Post Black box of Ethiopian jet retrieved: Lebanon - 29 hrs ago
The Scotsman Black box from crashed Ethiopian jet is found 150ft under the sea - 32 hrs ago Lebanon Retrieves Ethiopian Airlines Black Box - 40 hrs ago
France24 LEBANON: Searchers recover Ethiopian plane black box from Med - 41 hrs ago Lebanese marines recover black box of crashed airliner - 43 hrs ago

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