The Lebanese tampered Cockpit Voice Recorder of ET 409

Tigrai Online
Feb. 28 2009

Ethiopian airlines Boeing 767- Tigrai OnlineDespite 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.

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