Reporter: By Hayal Alemayehu and Zekarias Sintayehu –
• Marshallers, traffic controllers most likely accountable for Ethiopian B777, Emirates accident
The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECA) launched a probe to identify the cause of the accident that led Emirates A340 to hit Ethiopian’s parked B 777 -200 LR on Tuesday. The authority convened a meeting to investigate the cause of the accident and identify the responsible body accountable for the damage on Thursday, two days after the incident took place at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
A team of professionals drawn from ECA are expected to deliver the findings of the investigation about the accident in days, according to informed sources.
According to an aviation industry professional who witnessed the accident, the marshallers who signal the pilot flying the A340 are expected to be the major accountable personnel for the accident while the air-traffic controller at the tower is also to blame. Usually, three marshallers, one directly signaling the pilot and two watching out the clearance—space between planes on the taxiway—guide pilots on the ground. The taxiway has two directions, labeled C and D and the air-traffic controller was supposed to guide the plane to go towards the C direction in which case the accident could have been avoided.
According to the expert who opted not be named because the person is not entitled to give information to the press, the pilot, however, could have avoided the accident himself using his visual sight to pass the plane safely through the taxiway. The incident happened as the Emirate’s plane, on its way to Entebbe, Uganda, hit Ethiopian’s Boeing 777 which was parked nearby, at Stand 18 in the airport.
The airbus smashed the Boeing 777 on its tail Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with its left wing, while heading to the runway to take-off.
The airbus’ left wing was caught with smoke and could not take-off immediately.
But it was back on the air after some maintenance from ground crew at the Ethiopian Airlines.
The Ethiopian plane flight number ET-501 with registration number ET ANN Boeing 777-200 LR landed on 9:10 am the same day from the US.
The Ethiopian Boeing canceled its flight scheduled to take off at 10:15 pm to the US following the accident.
As to where the Ethiopian Boeing, whose tail sustained a 15-cm crack from the crash will be maintained, has yet to be known.
Ethiopian bought Boeing 777-200 LR priced USD 500 million last November. It is to be recalled that the former Ethiopian CEO, Girma Wake, went to Seattle to bring the first Boeing 777-200 LR to Africa. The airline’s officials declined to comment on the issue.