Lebanese Probe Says Pilot Error Behind Crash but Ethiopian Airlines Points to Sabotageإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi revealed on Tuesday that the probe in the 2010 crash of the Ethiopian plane off the Lebanese coast, in which all 90 people on board died, points to a pilot error.
“The truth is in the Lebanese report, the pilot is completely responsible for the plane crash,” the minister said during a press conference held at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International airport.
Aridi pointed out that the direct reasons behind the incident fall on the pilot and the co-pilot who were on 51 days of service without a break.
An earlier preliminary report by the Ethiopian authorities on the crash said the accident was due to pilot inexperience and a series of errors by the pilots who failed to take into account signals emitted by the plane's instruments.
The pilot erroneously believed the jet was on automatic pilot and as a result he and his co-pilot failed to heed the alarm signals as the plane veered dangerously off course before crashing, the preliminary report showed.
Aridi ruled out reports saying sabotage was behind the crash.
The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 went down minutes after taking off from Beirut international airport, killing 83 passengers and seven crew members.
Lebanese officials have previously said that data recovered from the plane's black box showed all instruments were working well until it plunged into the Mediterranean during a fierce storm.
Ethiopian Airlines rejected the official Lebanese probe in the 2010 crash of its jet, saying it was likely caused by sabotage, a lightning strike or was shot down.
"The aircraft disintegrated in the air due to explosion, which could have been caused by a shoot-down, sabotage or lightning strike," Desta Zeru, vice president of flight operations for Ethiopian Airlines, said in a statement.
However, the airline's own accident report released Tuesday said witnesses saw an explosion in the sky before the jet crashed into the sea, indicative of "external damage" inflicted, Desta told reporters.
The airline had already rejected an earlier draft report from Lebanon, and instead maintained the pilots were alert at the time of the crash, according to black box evidence.
"It's biased, it's missing facts, (it includes) hypotheses and conveniently excludes hard facts. We totally reject it," Desta said.
Desta accused Lebanese authorities of omitting the majority of the wreckage from the investigation and said Lebanon "ignored crucial information," such as security footage and autopsy records.