Although the statement was later recanted, in Lebanese transportation and public works minister Ghazi Aridi’s press conference immediately following the crash, he said that the pilot had ‘failed to follow instructions from the control tower to correct his path and avoid a thunder storm.’
Anonymous airport sources say that Captain Habtamu Benti, the pilot commanding the ET Boeing 737-800, encountered a possible flame out, or other engine trouble during takeoff, and requested permission to abort the flight.
Another finding that has not been officially disclosed is the freelance journalist Sara Persson’s report that an Etihad Airways Airbus A319, Flight EY 533, inbound from Abu Dhabi International Airport, came in close proximity to ET 409, which may mean an evasive maneuver may have been involved. Captain Habtamu Benti had allegedly been given clearance to do so, but the Etihad Airlines flight from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates was in the process of landing and possibly obstructed with emergency maneuvers
The buzz is that the upcoming report will be blaming the crash of Ethiopian Airlines for ET-409 on overworked pilots inexperienced on the Boeing 737, who had flown over 100 hours in the month of January 2010. But that report may not be presenting a full picture of what happened, according to Ethiopian Transport Communication Minister Diriba Kuma who said that crucial information from the Ethiopian investigation team was omitted from the report.
The Ethiopian delegation complained about lack of cooperation from Lebonese officials, and now says that the Lebanese media is attempting to sway public opinion by publishing speculation.