March 15, 2019 / 7:40 AM / 7 months ago

Ethiopia plane crash investigation team arrives in Paris

FILE PHOTO: Men unload a case containing the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 outside the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - An Ethiopian team investigating the crash of flight ET302, which killed 157 people, has arrived in Paris, where the aircraft’s black boxes are being examined, the airline said on Friday.

“The Ethiopian delegation led by the chief investigator of Accident Investigation Bureau has arrived in the French Safety Investigation (BEA) facilities and the investigation process has started in Paris,” Ethiopian Airlines tweeted.

France’s air accident investigation agency on Thursday received two black boxes whose data investigators will analyze to determine what caused Sunday’s crash. The plane plunged into a field minutes after take-off.

The agency tweeted a picture of the data recorder, which appeared to show the crash-proof housing protecting the critical recording chip intact. Investigators will also analyze the voice recorder, which should have picked up the conversations between the pilots and with air traffic controllers.

Nations around the world, including an initially reluctant United States, have suspended the Boeing 737 MAX 8 models in operation. Since the model is relatively new, only 371 such planes were flying, but another nearly 5,000 MAXs are on order, meaning the financial implications are huge.

(Corrects para 4 to make clear description of black box is of flight data recorder only.)

Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Kim Coghill and Peter Graff

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