French investigators resume work on Ethiopian jet’s black boxes

People searching for belongings and debris for forensic analysis at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines-operated Boeing 737 Max plane outside the town of Bishoftu last Friday. Boeing last week outlined changes it expected to make as a result

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Investigators at a lab in France and a field in Ethiopia are looking for clues into the second deadly accident involving Boeing's newest jetliner, while DNA testing has started to identify the remains of victims.

The United States and many other countries have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 as the USA -based company faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty software might have contributed to two crashes that killed 346 people in less than six months.

Ethiopian Airlines says its pilots received special training on how to deal with the Max's anti-stall software. It shared a photo of the data recorder, which appeared intact though the edge appeared somewhat mangled. Meanwhile, the investigation into a cause is well underway.

Reuters was not able to reach Tewolde for comment.

Sunday's loss of an Ethiopian Airlines 737, in which 157 people died, bore similarities to the Asian tragedy, stoking concern that a feature meant to make the upgraded Max safer than earlier planes has actually made it harder to fly.

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The Canadian carrier would face the costs of re-booking passengers after the planes were grounded, and other costs from not having scheduled access to the more efficient MAX, said AltaCorp analyst Chris Murray.

In the meantime, the airline offered one kilo of charred soil collected from the crash scene to some relatives so as to take home for burial awaiting DNA results.

Investigators in France on Friday examined the black boxes of the jet that crashed in Ethiopia as the global airline industry waited to see if the cause was similar to the disaster in Indonesia.

"We were told by the company that we will be given a kilo (of earth) each for burial at Selassie Church for a funeral they will organize", said one family member who asked not to be named.

A statement issued on Saturday, March 16, indicated death certificates would be issued in two weeks time and will sent to victim's physical addresses.

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The timeline for aircraft release to airlines remains the same.

After prayers for the dead at a mosque in Addis Ababa, impatience flashed over the lack of information. Around 100 relatives, including the brother and father of pilot Yared Getachew, gathered at a memorial for the victims at the Kenyan embassy. "He was diligent, hardworking, he had a consistent work ethic". And then yesterday Ethiopian Airlines officials called us to a meeting but they don't have anything to say. That flight crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people. In the simulator, Aimer took off from the same airport in Ethiopia, but a minute after takeoff, there was a problem.

The FAA has said that the Boeing 737 will not fly until a software update can be tested and installed. S7's fleet consists of 96 planes, including two Boeing 737 Max, which are the only such planes owned by any Russian airline.

Boeing and US air safety regulators have been at odds over how much pilot training will be required along with the software fix, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

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