"Break, break, request back home," launched the pilot

An investigator at the crash site of Boeing 737 Max 8 of Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia, March 12, 2019. – Mulugeta Ayene / AP / SIPA

In a "panicked voice," the pilot asked to turn around. Minutes later, Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed near Addis Ababa, killing 157 people. While black boxes need to be analyzed in France on Friday, the New York Times publishes Thursday the transcript of the captain's last conversation with the control tower.

"Break, break, request back home," says the commander to the air traffic controllers as he tries to avoid two more flights approaching the airport, according to statements from the US daily on the basis of a person who had access exchanges between the crew and these controllers. The term "break, break" is used to prioritize a message, meaning that the crew is faced with an emergency that pilots can not manage. "Request guidance to land," adds the commander.

Climbs and brutal descents

The company said Sunday that the crew had requested a return to Addis Ababa but this is the first time that the contents of the messages of the commander with air control is unveiled. The controllers received these messages three minutes after take-off. They then observe that the trajectory of the aircraft oscillates between climbs and descents several hundred feet, the sign that it goes very badly, according to this same testimony.

All contacts between the controllers and the crew of flight 302 en route to Nairobi are lost five minutes after takeoff, according to the same source. Flight ET 302 took off at 08:38 from Addis Ababa and disappeared from the radar six minutes later. The aircraft was flown by Yared Getachew (8,000 flight hours) and had been serviced on 4 February.

Boeing 737 Max grounded

For now, the exact causes of the accident are unknown. The black boxes of the aircraft, which contain the flight parameters and conversations in the cockpit, have arrived in France, where they will be decrypted by the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA), an organization specialized in investigations. aircraft accident techniques. The engineers' job is to start on Friday.

This accident, which is similar to that of a 737 MAX 8 of the Indonesian airline Lion Air in late October, has led air safety authorities around the world to temporarily ban the flight of Boeing 737 MAX.

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