Ethiopian Airlines reject claims

2010-02-24 18:06

Addis Ababa - Ethiopian Airlines chief Girma Wake on Wednesday accused Lebanese authorities of making "misleading" comments on the cause of a crash that killed 90 people off Beirut last month.

"I am not happy with the way they are handling it," Girma told journalists here.

There have been conflicting reports as to whether the passenger jet exploded in the air or after it hit the water.

Lebanon's transport and information ministers have both repeatedly ruled out sabotage, but the African airliner has refused to reject any factor, including foul play.

"My main concern is not with the investigators as long as they follow International Civil Aviation Organisation rules, my concern is with the authorities who come out with guesses every morning," Girma said.

"I can see the sensitivity of the issue in Lebanon. To calm down their own people they can make such statements. That's not the right way to act, what they are saying is misleading," he added.

Girma said his company expected to receive the first part of an investigative report later on Wednesday "that will bring out the truth".

Flight ET-409 took off in bad weather conditions and was bound for Addis Ababa with 83 passengers, the majority of whom were Lebanese, and seven crew when it crashed, in the Ethiopian carrier's worst ever accident.

The airline said on Tuesday that all bodies from the crash on January 25 had been retrieved and identified after a lengthy search that saw divers struggle to make recoveries as most victims were strapped to their seats.