Ethiopian jet pilot asked to climb quickly before crash – source

Ethiopian Airlines flight had unusually high speed after take-off before problems reported

An Ethiopian federal policeman and an Oromo tribesman look at a flower memorial bearing portraits of victims at the crash site of an Ethiopian Airways-operated Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on  Saturday, March 16th, 2019, at Hama Quntushele village near Bishoftu in Oromia region, Ethiopia. Photograph: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

An Ethiopian federal policeman and an Oromo tribesman look at a flower memorial bearing portraits of victims at the crash site of an Ethiopian Airways-operated Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on Saturday, March 16th, 2019, at Hama Quntushele village near Bishoftu in Oromia region, Ethiopia. Photograph: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

 

Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, which crashed last weekend killing 157 people, had an unusually high speed after take-off before the pilot reported problems and asked permission to climb quickly, said a source who has listened to the air traffic control recording.

A voice from the cockpit of the Boeing 737 MAX asked to climb to 14,000ft above sea level – 6,400ft above the airport – but vanished from radar at 10,800ft after starting a right turn back to the airport due to what the pilot described as a flight control problem, the source said on condition of anonymity because the recording is part of an ongoing investigation.

Shortly before the manoeuvre, the air traffic controller had been in communication with other aircraft when the voice from Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 interrupted, saying “break, break” – signalling that other non-urgent communications should cease. The pilot sounded fearful, the source said.

Investigators could not immediately be reached for comment. – Reuters