Ethiopia accuses Lebanon of hampering plane crash investigation

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Ethiopia accused the Lebanese government, saying it has been deterring the investigation process of the crashed B-737 aircraft by hiding essential information.

Preliminary report of the investigation does not include crucial information of the accident, Diriba Kuma, Minister of Ethiopian Transport and Communication said in a press conference he gave today February 24, 2010.

According to the Minister, evidence that was first included in the report and could lead to discovery of the cause of the accident was later omitted deliberately by officials of the Lebanese government.

Eyewitness accounts, including one that said the plane was blown up in mid-air, and the voice instruction forwarded to the pilot from the aviation tour were left out, the minister revealed.

He said he hopes Lebanon officials will adhere to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) codes and is also confident that the cause of the accident will be declared as per international regulations after the ongoing analysis of the discovered data.

“We will not accept any reports that do not follow the ICAO codes,” Diriba cautioned.

Last month, an Ethiopian Airlines plane, a Boeing 737-800, carrying 83 passengers and seven crew members, crashed immediately after take off from Beirut airport in Lebanon. It was a direct flight to Addis Ababa.

A defence ministry official had told reporters that the Boeing 737 exploded into four pieces before crashing shortly after takeoff whilst a release by the Lebanese army indicated that the plane was “on fire shortly after takeoff”.

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