Data from the black boxes recovered from the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air Boeing 737 Max crashes, which have inspired numerous countries to ground the plane, showed "clear similarities," according to a statement from Ethiopian transport minister Dagmawit Moge given to The Wall Street Journal, among other outlets.
"Clear similarities were noted between Ethiopian Air Flight 302 and Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610, which will be the subject of further study during the investigation," she reportedly told the paper.
She said a report on the data, which has been validated by US and Ethiopian authorities, will be issued within the next month.
The March 10 Ethiopian crash killed all 157 people on board, and followed a Lion Air crash of the same Boeing model in October 2018, which killed 189 people. The series of crashes has resulted in an international investigation, and the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max model in the US, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and other countries.
On Friday, Bloomberg reported that investigators found a piece of equipment called a jackscrew at the Ethiopian crash site. According to two sources who reportedly spoke to The New York Times, the evidence suggested that the jet's horizontal stabilisers were tilted upward, which would have then forced the nose of the plane downward. Jackscrews control the angle of the horizontal stabilisers. According to Reuters, sources said this resembled evidence from the Lion Air crash.
Investigators are looking into whether or not the stabilisers could have been triggered by the plane's automatic Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which is designed to prevent the plane's nose from tipping upward, according to a report from The New York Times.
Lion Air's MCAS was reportedly set off multiple time before the crash, according to The Times, and it's been theorised that a faulty sensor could have triggered the system incorrectly, causing the accident.
The evidence also reportedly was influential in the FAA's decision to ground the 737 Max.
In a statement Wednesday, the FAA said, "The FAA is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operated by US airlines or in US territory. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analysed today. This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to this decision."
Mary Hanbury contributed to this report.
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