The black box from the Ethiopian Airlines crash is being sent to France instead of the US - a sharp break with precedent that could be seen as a deliberate snub

The black box from the Ethiopian Airlines crash is being sent to France instead of the US - a sharp break with precedent that could be seen as a deliberate snub

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crash

REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A Saudi man who's brother died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash at a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Wednesday.

  • The black boxes from the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday have been sent to France for analysis.
  • The decision not to send them to the US could be seen as a snub, as the plane was manufactured by Boeing, an American company.
  • Ethiopian Airlines' public relations director said that the choice to send the data recorders to Europe and not to the US was a decision for the airline and the Ethiopian government.
  • The US hesitated to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 planes and stated they were safe, even as the European Union and other countries banned them from their airspaces.

Ethiopia sent the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane to France in a bid to understand what happened to the plane, in what could be seen as a snub to the US.

An official from BEA, the French air accident authority, told the Associated Press on Thursday morning that the flight data recorder and the cockpit vote recorder had arrived in France for analysis. They said they could not give a timeframe for how long it might take their investigation to find out why the brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed into the ground, killing 159 people, shortly after takeoff.

Asrat Begashaw, Ethiopian Airlines' public relations director, said the choice to send the data recorders to Europe and not to the US was a decision for the airline and the Ethiopian government, Bloomberg reported.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash site

REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

People walk past a part of the wreckage at the scene crash.


Bloomberg reported that the decision is "a sign U.S. authorities aren't trusted to determine the cause of the disaster after ruling that the model is safe to fly."

Read more: Boeing's CEO reportedly asked President Trump not to ground the company's plane that has crashed twice in 5 months

According to BEA's website, the last time the authority investigated an incident involving a Boeing 737 plane was in 2013. It investigated an incident involving a Boeing 777 in 2017.

The AP reported: "The BEA has experience with global air crashes, and its expertise is often sought whenever an Airbus plane crashes because the manufacturer is based in France."

France's BEA air accident investigation agency

REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

The headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget on Thursday.


According to Reuters, US and Ethiopian aviation safety officials discussed on Tuesday whether the data recorders "would go to would go to Washington or London for download and analysis."

The decision is unusual, as France and other European countries typically deal with investigations into incidents involving European plane manufacturers, such as Airbus.

The US grounded the planes on Wednesday. Ethiopia announced that it would send the flight recorders to Europe as the US Federal Aviation Administration continued to express confidence in the plane, even as countries around the world and the European Union banned the planes from their airspaces.

Read more: Trump announces all Boeing 737 Max jets are immediately grounded following its 2nd crash in 5 months

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crashed minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa Bole on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board the four-month-old plane.


Boeing 737 MAX


The Boeing 737 Max fleet.

It was the second Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner involved in a fatal crash in five months. In October 2018, Lion Air Flight JT610 crashed in the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.

Investigations into the Lion Air crash are still ongoing, but Boeing announced on Tuesday that it will update the software on the 737 Max that may cause the plane's nose to turn down.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in its decision to ground the planes that similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes "warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause for the two incidents that needs to be better understood and addressed."

More on Boeing's 737 Max 8 and the Ethiopian Airlines crash:


Everything we know about Ethiopian Airlines' deadly crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8, the 2nd disaster involving the plane in 5 months

Norwegian Air reportedly tells Boeing to 'take this bill' after grounding its fleet of 18 Boeing 737 Max planes

This map shows all the countries to ban the Boeing 737 Max 8, and where airlines have grounded their fleets, after Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157

Pilots complained to authorities about issues with the Boeing 737 Max for months before the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash

These airlines will likely take the biggest hit after the Boeing 737 Max was involved in 2 deadly crashes


Boeing has $400 billion in orders on the books. 80% of them are for the 737.

An Ethiopian Airlines passenger said he missed the crashed flight by 2 minutes: 'I'm grateful to be alive'

The family of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 captain speaks out after crash that killed 157 people

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