The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorded from the wreckage of Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302, arrived in Paris on Wednesday after Ethiopian officials denied a request to send the so-called black boxes to the U.S. for analysis. German investigators say they declined to accept the devices because they lacked the resources to properly evaluate the data recovered from the next generation aircraft.
France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) has announced it would perform the analysis of the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder recovered from the wreck of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 at the request of Ethiopian officials. On Wednesday, Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) confirmed it had declined a request to analyze the recorder because it lacked the resources to assess the data from the relatively new Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Because the aircraft was designed and built in the U.S, authorities there had reportedly requested that the black boxes be returned for analysis. A team from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was also dispatched to assist the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) in their investigation.
According to The Globe and Mail, the black boxes have already arrived in Paris. Ethiopian officials announced on Wednesday they would not be returning the black boxes to Boeing or U.S investigators, but it was not clear which agency would take possession of the accident data recorders until French investigators confirmed they had taken possession of the devices on Thursday.
The decision to send the black boxes to a third party country, not involved in operating or manufacturing the crashed aircraft, is extraordinarily unusual. The move is widely viewed as something of a rebuke to both Boeing and U.S. officials.
While the vast majority of aviation authorities and commercial airlines around the globe were quick to ground 737 MAX aircraft in the wake of back-to-back tragedies, including Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610, Boeing, along with U.S airlines and regulators, remained steadfast in insisting there was no evidence of safety issues with the next generation aircraft. This increasingly isolating position led to lingering questions about the objectivity of U.S. investigators.
According to Reuters, the condition of the black boxes and the ability to retrieve the data they contain is still unclear. The BEA reports evaluating the information could take between several hours and several days. “First we will try to read the data,” a BEA spokesperson told reporters.
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