Investigators at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines flight reportedly found new clues pointing to similarities with a similar accident involving the same type of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from the Indonesian airline Lion Air, which crashed in Java Sea a few months ago.
This new evidence, that part of the plane that crashed in Ethiopia last weekend killing 157 people, suggests that the stabilizers of the aircraft had been raised, according to two people aware of the survey. At this angle, the stabilizers would have forced the nose of the device down, a situation similar to that surrounding the crash of Lion Air last October.
Although the causes of the two accidents are still under investigation, this new evidence indicates that both aircraft may have encountered problems with a newly installed automated system on the 737 Max, designed to prevent a stall.
And to note that this evidence had finally contributed to the decision this week of US regulators to ground the entire fleet of 737 Max in the United States. Indeed, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it found material evidence of the crash in Ethiopia which, along with the satellite tracking data, suggested similarities between the two accidents.
The new evidence found at the crash site in Ethiopia is a piece of equipment that controls the angle of the horizontal outriggers. These can be triggered by an automated system of increasing maneuvering characteristics or MCAS.
Indonesian and US authorities are also questioning whether MCAS contributed to the Lion Air crash that killed 189 people. During this accident, the automated system, alleged to have received faulty sensor readings, may have repeatedly pushed Lion Air’s aircraft nose down, creating a conflict between the new flight control system and the aircraft pilot commands.
The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737, which was on a scheduled flight to Nairobi, crashed 6 minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa airport near Bishoftu, 60 km from the capital, the report said.
There were 33 different nationalities aboard the plane according to the authorities. None of the 149 passengers and 8 crew members on board survived the crash. Two Moroccans lost their lives.