Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409

Featured Image: Michael Kelly

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 was a scheduled international commercial passenger flight between Beirut, Lebanon and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The flight was operated by a Boeing 737-800 Family aircraft. On the 25th of January, 2010, it was carrying 90 people. Shortly after take-off from Rafic Hariri International Airport, the aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. All of the 90 people on board perished in the crash.

Subsequent investigations were carried out by the Lebanese Civil Aviation Authority with the help of Boeing and the US’ National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Terrorism and hijacking were ruled out first and foremost as the Lebanese President made the announcement that the flight recorders were found and they did not point in such a direction.

In the final report released, The Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transport stated that:

“The probable causes of the accident were the flight crew’s mismanagement of the aircraft’s speed, altitude, headings and attitude through inconsistent flight control inputs resulting in a loss of control and their failure to abide by CRM [Crew Resource Management] principles of mutual support and calling deviations”

Ethiopian Airlines strongly refuted the report and was of the opinion that the aircraft was seen as a fireball before the crash and an explosion or shooting down was highly probable. The Lebanese CAA counter refuted and an impasse was reached. Speculation still goes on as to whether it was pilot error or mischief that brought down Flight 409.

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