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France Leading Investigation into Ethiopian Airlines Crash

French authorities to examine black box data and lead investigation into Boeing 737 Max 8 crash

French aviation authorities are busy examining the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, or black boxes, from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in an effort to find out what happened to the doomed flight after it crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday.

France's Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety said no immediate information was available on the condition of the recorders or what they might reveal. Authorities expect the data extraction process to take several days according to an agency spokesman. Ethiopia requested France's assistance as that country did not have the necessary equipment to read the devices.

Sunday's plane crash, which killed all 157 people aboard, is the second time in five months a Boeing 737 MAX 8 went down minutes after takeoff. In October of last year, 189 people were killed after Lion Air Flight 610 crashed in the Java Sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia.

On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Authority issued an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes in the U.S. joining dozens of other countries around the world who have grounded the plane or banned them from their airspace. President Donald Trump issued an emergency order halting flights of the MAX 8 and MAX 9 models.

Boeing said they agreed with the move to ground the planes.

"Boeing has determined – out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety – to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of all 371 MAX aircraft," Boeing said in a statement on Wednesday.

Wednesday's emergency order left many airlines scrambling yesterday, as passengers across the nation dealt with canceled flights and trip delays. Southwest Airlines, which operates the most MAX 8s out of any other airline in the U.S., said its 34 jets accounted for fewer than 5 percent of the carrier's total daily flights and that passengers who were bumped by the emergency order will be able to rebook at no additional cost.

Boeing has invested in the MAX fleet of 737s as airlines are demand better fuel efficiency and longer routes out of the planes. More than 4,500 of the jetliners have been ordered by airlines around the world. Norwegian Airlines, which flies 18 of the planes, asked Boeing to compensate them for the cost of parking the jets while the airline manufacturer works on an update for the software that is believed to be causing the crash.

Photo: Getty Images

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