France's Bureau of Inquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety has confirmed that it took possession of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders on Thursday. All insisted upon anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
"The soil came as it became impossible to identify bodies and hand over remains to family members", one family member said.
Moges said temporary death certificates had been issued for the victims of the March 10 crash and the final documents will be ready within two weeks. The victims of the crash came from 35 countries.
Earth from the crash site is being made available for a planned service in Addis Ababa on Sunday, Reuters reports. Muslim families have already held prayers for the dead and are anxious to have something to bury as soon as possible.
Children gather in front of a memorial on Saturday, March 16, 2019, where an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed almost a week earlier near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's largest carrier, sent the black boxes to France because it does not have the equipment to analyze the data.
The U.S. planemaker has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and pilot displays on its fastest-selling jetliner in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October.
According to the flight data recorder, the pilots of Lion Air Flight 610 struggled to control the aircraft as the MCAS repeatedly pushed the nose down after takeoff. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.
Boeing said it supports the grounding of its planes as a precautionary step, while reiterating "full confidence" in their safety.
Trump and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed exchanged condolences Friday, Abiy said on Twitter, with the United States president praising Ethiopian Airlines as a "strong institution" and offering technical support.
In Addis Ababa, a source who has listened to the air traffic control recording of the plane's communications said flight 302 had an unusually high speed after take-off before the plane reported problems and asked permission to climb quickly.