UPDATE 1-Ethiopia plane crash investigation team arrives in Paris

(Updates with background)

By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI, March 15 (Reuters) – An Ethiopian team investigating the crash of flight ET302, which killed 157 people, has arrived in Paris, where the aircraft’s black boxes are being examined, the airline said in a tweet on Friday.

“The Ethiopian delegation led by the chief investigator of Accident Investigation Bureau has arrived in the French Safety Investigation (BEA) facilities and the investigation process has started in Paris,” Ethiopian Airlines tweeted.

France’s air accident investigation agency released pictures on Thursday of the two ‘black boxes’ whose data investigators will analyse to determine what caused Sunday’s crash. The plane plunged into a field minutes after take-off.

The crash-proof housing on the data recorder appeared to be intact but the voice recorder, which should have picked up the conversations between the pilots and between the pilots and air traffic controllers, appeared damaged at one side.

Nations around the world, including an initially reluctant United States, have suspended the Boeing 737 MAX 8 models in operation. Since the model is relatively new, only 371 such planes were flying, but another nearly 5,000 MAXs are on order, meaning the financial implications are huge. (Writing by Katharine Houreld Editing by Kim Coghill and Peter Graff)

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