Beirut: Black box data show sabotage cannot
be blamed for the crash of an Ethiopian airliner that killed
90 people when it plunged into the sea off Beirut last month,
a Lebanese minister said on Thursday.
Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi said the conclusion was
reached based on a preliminary report of technical information
found in the flight data recorder following expert analysis in
The data "showed that all the aircraft`s instruments
functioned well until it crashed, which rejects the hypothesis
of an act (of sabotage) involving an explosion," Aridi told a
news conference at Beirut airport.
His comments came after the office of Information
Minister Tareq Mitri issued a statement saying "there is
absolutely no evidence an act of sabotage or a terrorist act."
There have been conflicting reports as to whether the
passenger jet exploded while airborne or after it hit the
The Lebanese government had already ruled out sabotage
and pilot error as causes of the crash, but Ethiopian Airlines
said yesterday that it could not reject any factor, including
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 plunged into the
Mediterranean Sea shortly after takeoff from Beirut airport on
January 25 during a fierce storm.
The Boeing 737-800 was bound for Addis Ababa with 83
passengers and seven crew on board. No survivors were found
and searchers have been struggling to recover bodies as most
victims are believed to be still strapped to their seats.