ET409: Ethiopian Airlines defends pilot, blames sabotage


A dispute raged between Ethiopian Airlines and Beirut over the reasons behind last month’s plane crash that killed all 90 people on board. The Boeing 737-800 bound for Addis Ababa crashed minutes after takeoff from Beirut airport in stormy weather on January 25.

“Reports that a pilot error was the cause of the disaster are just a guess,” said Ethiopian Airlines’ executive director.

“Investigations may take a while before the cause of the crash is determined,” he added.

He backed a statement made by Ethiopian Airlines earlier this month in which it did not rule out that “sabotage” may have caused the crash.

Middle East Airlines Chairman of the Board of Directors Mohammed Hout, meanwhile, said a “pilot error” was behind the crash.

“According to reliable information made available (about the disaster), an error by the pilot of the ill-fated Ethiopian plane was the reason that led to the fall and crash,” Hout said in remarks published Tuesday.

State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza is expected to receive a detailed account by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Lebanese commando divers pursued efforts at retrieving the bodies of the passengers who were aboard the ill-fated Ethiopian airplane. The list of the 90 travelers who are presumed to be dead has shrunk to only three believed to be still missing. (Naharnet)