March 14, 2019 / 8:20 AM / 3 months ago

First readings of Ethiopian plane's black boxes may take days: BEA

A view shows the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - It may take several days to complete the first readings of the black boxes recovered from the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed after take-off, a spokesman for the French air accident investigation agency conducting the analysis said on Thursday.

The Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) said it would receive the flight data and cockpit voice recorders later in the day, after an apparent tussle over where the investigation should be held.

The BEA spokesman said he did not know what condition the black boxes were in. “First we will try to read the data,” the he said, adding that the first analyses could take anywhere between several hours and several days.

Much will depend on how damaged the black boxes are.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 careered into the ground shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, breaking up into small fragments and carving a deep crater.

Boeing will be hoping for quick answers from the investigation. Satellite data has indicated similarities in the flight profile with another 737 MAX aircraft which plunged into the seas off Indonesia five months ago, prompting aviation authorities around the world to ground the MAX model.

Boeing maintains its planes are safe, but the second calamity to hit the next-generation workhorse of the Boeing fleet has wiped nearly $26 billion off the company’s market value.

Since the Indonesia crash, there has been much scrutiny on an automated anti-stall system in the MAX model that pushes the plane’s nose down.

Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Cawthorne

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