By Darwish Ammar, The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The official report on the Ethiopian plane crash which killed 90 people after taking off from Beirut in January 2010 has been finalized, the public works minister said Thursday.
The report will be sent to the U.S., France and Ethiopia for a 60-day review process, after which Aridi said Lebanon will take the necessary legal action.
“The report is finalized but it will be made public after the 60-day grace period … And then, the Lebanese authorities will carry out the legal and technical procedures,” Ghazi Aridi said during a press conference held at Rafik Hariri International Airport.
The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed into the Mediterranean less than four minutes after takeoff on Jan. 25, 2010, after performing two maneuvers ordered by Beirut’s Air Traffic Control team. All 90 people aboard were killed.
A joint investigation committee was created and managed by Lebanon’s Civil Aviation Authority to investigate the crash and was composed of Lebanese and Ethiopian representatives, along with individuals representing Boeing, the plane’s American manufacturer.
“In the next two days, the report will be … sent to the U.S. delegation considering it is the manufacturer and the Ethiopian authority and the French bureau of investigation which was involved in this case since day one.” The wife of the French Ambassador to Lebanon was killed in the crash.
The concerned authorities have 60 days to review the report and submit any remarks; otherwise, the report will be made public.
Aridi also said that an Ethiopian delegation arrived in Lebanon on Aug. 19 and held meetings with the head of the Lebanese delegation, Captain Mohammad Aziz, but left without any prior notice and without finalizing their meetings.
Aridi said that some of the victims’ families have begun their own legal procedures regarding the crash.
Aziz, who was also at the press conference in his first public appearance, said investigations into plane crashes usually take several years and every element should be taken into consideration.
“As investigators, we have taken into consideration everything that was presented to us from technical issues, to the weather problems, security or otherwise and everything is discussed in the report even if it is not related to the accident,” Aziz said.