ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopian Airlines has grounded all of its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as “an extra safety precaution” following the crash of one of its planes in which 157 people were killed, a spokesman said Monday, as Ethiopia marked a day of mourning and the plane’s damaged “black box” of data was found.
The plane’s “black box” of flight data and cockpit voice recorder had been found, Ethiopian Airlines said.
An airline official, however, told The Associated Press that the box was partially damaged and “we will see what we can retrieve from it.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to speak to the media.
Although it wasn’t yet known what caused the crash of the new plane in clear weather outside Addis Ababa on Sunday, the airline decided to ground its remaining four 737 Max 8s until further notice, spokesman Asrat Begashaw said. Ethiopian Airlines had been using five of the planes and awaiting delivery of 25 more.
Some other airlines around the world were deciding to do the same. Aviation authorities in China and Indonesia along with Caribbean carrier Cayman Airways temporarily grounded their Max 8s.
Pope Francis has sent his condolences to the families of the victims of the plane crash in Ethiopia.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said in a statement Monday that the pope was sad to learn about the crash and “offers prayers for the deceased from various countries and commends their souls to the mercy of Almighty God.”
The statement said, “Pope Francis sends heartfelt condolences to their families, and upon all who mourn this tragic loss he invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.”
Red Cross workers slowly picked through the widely scattered debris near the blackened crash crater, looking for the remains of 157 lives. A shredded book. A battered passport. Business cards in multiple languages. Heavy machinery dug for larger pieces of the plane.