Pilot quickly called in Ethiopia plane emergency, NYT reports

The pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed requested permission “in a panicky voice” to return to the airport shortly after takeoff, The New York Times reported Friday, as the airline said the investigation into the flight recorders had begun.

The report cited “a person who reviewed air traffic communications” from Sunday’s flight saying controllers noticed the plane was moving up and down by hundreds of feet, with its speed appearing unusually fast.

An airline spokesman has said the pilot was given permission to return. But the plane crashed minutes later outside Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board.

French authorities now have the plane’s flight data and voice recorders for analysis. The agency in charge of the review said it was unclear whether data could be retrieved, and tweeted a photo of the data recorder that appeared to show damage.

Ethiopian Airlines said an Ethiopian delegation led by its chief accident investigator had arrived there.

In Ethiopia, officials started taking DNA samples from victims’ family members to assist in identifying remains.

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