Among the heap of shredded parts in the dirt-filled crater near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, investigators got a hold of two black boxes, a Digital Flight Data Recorder and a Cockpit Voice Recorder.
Both could help the investigators determine what happened to Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737. But an airline official announced that both boxes were partially damaged, reflecting the devastating destruction that affected the 157 souls on board.
Their loved ones across the world clung onto hope that perhaps one of the passengers survived the turmoil. The victims included people from 35 different countries, including nine Ethiopians, 18 Canadians, 32 Kenyans and eight Americans.
“Where are you my son?” a woman pleaded on the phone back on the Addis Ababa airport with tears running down her face. Meanwhile, the Red Cross laid out body bags near the crash site.
"Families are being told that it's a very difficult process just identifying some of these bodies that are badly charred," said Catherine Soi, a producer with Al Jazeera.
The plane, part of the new line of MAX 8 aircrafts, took off from the airport Sunday on route to Nairobi. As soon as they were in the air, the pilot reported an issue with the plane and asked for permission to turn back. Soon after, the plane crashed.
It wasn’t the first of that model to take the lives of its customers. Less than six months ago, another MAX 8 plane crashed in the Java Sea. None of the 189 passengers were found alive. Since both disasters, Indonesia, China and Ethiopia grounded all their 737 MAX planes Monday.
“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane,” the company said in a statement Sunday. “We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team.”
According to Boeing’s website, the 737 MAX, “is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating nearly 4,700 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide.” But now the company could face its worst trading day since 9/11 according to CNN.