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Ethiopia :Voice Recorder been Tampered& Deleted by Lebanon

Posted: 02 Mar 2010 14:24
by ኦሽንoc
[font=Arial]Ethiopia : Voice Recorder been Tampered and Deleted by Lebanon

Despite a consistent position that there will be no statements given by the Ethiopian side regarding the investigations into the causes of the crash of ET-409 off the coast of Lebanon, one thing though has been made clear by officials here - that nothing has yet been ruled out—including sabotage.

An investigation by The Reporter has revealed that in addition to breaching the “gag agreement’ between high officials of both countries, the Lebanese side has also been committing a series of deliberate tampering of evidence, withholding of information and preventing access to Ethiopian investigation teams sent to Beirut.

A 13-member Ethiopian team, comprising senior pilots, medical personnel and other professionals, went to Beirut on January 26.

Reliable sources have disclosed to The Reporter that the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) was tampered with by the Lebanese. The professionals that went to inspect the CVR are said to have found that recorded segment of several minutes was deleted.

Usually, the CVR records for 30 minutes and then deletes that and begins to record another 30 minutes segment. In case of an accident, regardless of the extent or type the CVR is built to retain the voice recorded in the cockpit for the last 30 minutes before a crash. The CVR records all the conversations made in the cockpit.

While the estimated flight time of the plane has so far been put at four minutes, The Reporter has learned that Ethiopian professionals were given only two minutes’ segment of the recording to listen.

According to The Reporter’s sources, the recording should have included segments from the time the chokes were removed from underneath the wheels. According to the sources, however, some parts before the two minute recording available and after it were missing.

“There is only recording of the conversation during take off. And you can hear what the pilots were being told by the tower control. The clearance that has been given to the pilots while flight ET-409 was taxiing is missing. The conversation made some time after the plane took off is also missing. When the Ethiopian professionals asked to listen to the tape for the second time the Lebanese authorities refused.”

When the Ethiopian delegation asked how some parts of the recorded material was missing the Lebanese authorities are reported to have declined to give explanations.

When Ethiopian team arrived in Beirut on the 26th, the director general of the Lebanese Civil Aviation Authority briefed them about the rescue efforts. During the briefing the director general told the Ethiopian delegation that 25 bodies had been recovered.

The Ethiopian delegation had passed this information to the concerned authorities and the media at home. At the Rafiq Hariri Hospital morgue, however, the Ethiopians found 14 bodies. When they asked the physicians where the rest of the remains were they were told that the hospital received only 14 bodies. When they asked the director general about the situation he only said it was a mistake.

According to the sources, bodies are part of the major sources of clue to the cause of a crash. The injury inflicted on bodies is important in identifying the type and cause of an accident.

“Was there a fire on the plane? Was there an explosive or was the plane shot down? The information investigators gather from bodies is crucial.”

Only recently have the Lebanese authorities announced they have recovered and identified all the remains of the 90 victims. In addition, some bodies of the Lebanese passengers were handed over to their families before the investigation process got underway.

“The Ethiopian delegation was not given access to those bodies. It was also not allowed to talk to families of the victims.”

If not for investigation purposes, it is mandatory that representatives of Ethiopian Airlines meet and talk with families regarding insurance.

The delegation, according to The Reporter’s sources, was not even allowed to have the victims’ families (Lebanese) fill out certain insurance related forms.

The director general reportedly refused to let the delegation talk to the families saying that Lebanese people were violent and could take any action against the Ethiopian delegation.

The director general also said Lebanese men marry four to five wives, making it difficult to determine which one the delegation ought to talk to.

The Ethiopian delegation was not allowed to visit the crash site and make a firsthand observation of the rescue and search operation.

“They did not want the Ethiopians to see the bodies as they were being retrieved. Why did they not want them to see the bodies? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered,” the sources said.

The other big mystery has to do with a witness that vanished into thin air. Officials of the Lebanese Civil Aviation Authority on the first day of the accident conducted an interview with an army officer who said he saw the plane explode into a ball of fire and plunge into the sea.

And when American and the French investigators came to Beirut the Lebanese officials are reported to have told them that they had this interview on record.

But when later they were asked for the recording of the interview, they failed to provide it. The witness also could not be available.

Ninety two percent of the plane’s body still remains under sea. The Lebanese authorities took some parts of the wreckage and are said to have locked it up.

“The Lebanese authorities recently announced that the fuselage, the main body of the aircraft, was found. How can it take so long to locate this?

The same thing happened to the black box.

Reports from Lebanon and official statements had indicated that it was located on January 29, adding that it would only take eight hours to send divers and bring it up.

Officially, though, the Lebanese said it was retrieved on February 14, fifteen days after they said they detected the signal from the black box.

The Ethiopian team was also told that the memory chip of the CVR was missing when they arrived in Paris. When the Lebanese were asked for permission to inspect the CVR as soon as it was retrieved in Beirut, they are reported to have refused claiming that they could not unseal the container.

Despite all these, however, the Lebanese have persistently been trying to imply that the crash was caused either by technical failure or human error.

Source: Reporter