Ethiopian slams reports that crashed 737 pilots were exhausted

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Ethiopian Airlines has blasted as "unfounded and speculative" reports in the Lebanese media which suggest that the crash of an Ethiopian Boeing 737-800 last January was caused by pilot exhaustion and inexperience.

Flight ET409 crashed into the Mediterranean shortly after departing Beirut airport for Addis Ababa on 25 January 2010, killing 82 passengers and eight crew members.

Ethiopian says in a statement that it "refutes the repeated attempts by some Lebanese media to sway the public opinion by publishing unfounded and speculative information as to the cause behind the accident".

In particular, Ethiopian points to a report in Lebanese newspaper Ya Libnan which suggests that the crash was a result of the pilots' exhaustion and inexperience.

Ethiopian accuses Ya Libnan of publishing "groundless information", adding that it "condemns the intentional effort by some Lebanese media to delude the public by disseminating baseless information".

The carrier says it "firmly maintains its position not to comment on the causes of the accident" prior to the official release of the crash investigation's findings.