Investigators have found the flight data recorders from an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday.
The devices recovered at the crash site were the Boeing 737 Max 8’s cockpit voice recorder and digital flight data recorder.
The plane was en route from Addis Ababa to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, when it crashed six minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board.
Several airlines have grounded the Boeing model following the disaster.
The months-old aircraft came down near the town of Bishoftu, 60km (37 miles) south-east of the capital at 08:44 local time (05:44 GMT).
There were more than 30 nationalities on board the flight, including Kenyans, Ethiopians, Canadians and Britons.
The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines said.
“At this stage, we can’t rule out anything,” CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said. “We can’t also attribute the cause to anything because we’ll have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation.”
Visibility was said to be good but air traffic monitor Flightradar24 reported that the plane’s “vertical speed was unstable after take-off”.
The pilot was named as Senior Capt Yared Getachew who Ethiopian Airlines said had a “commendable performance” with more than 8,000 hours in the air.
The 737 Max 8 aircraft has only been in commercial use since 2017.
The plane that crashed was among six of 30 that Ethiopian Airlines had ordered as part of its expansion. It underwent a “rigorous first check maintenance” on February 4, the airline said in a statement.
Boeing said it was “deeply saddened” by the crash and was sending a team to provide technical assistance.
It was the second crash in five months involving a 737 Max 8, and comparisons are being drawn with a Lion Air accident in Indonesia last October that killed 189 people.
Following the Lion Air crash, investigators said the pilots had appeared to struggle with an automated system designed to keep the plane from stalling, a new feature of the jet.
The anti-stall system repeatedly forced the plane’s nose down, despite efforts by pilots to correct this, preliminary findings suggested. The Lion Air plane was also new and the accident happened soon after take-off. –BBC