Ethiopia says crashed jet's black boxes show similarities to Lion Air mishap

Flight data from the Ethiopian Airlines disaster a week ago suggest "clear similarities" with a crash off Indonesia last October, Ethiopia's transport minister has said.

Officials sais 157 people from 35 different countries were killed when the Nairobi-bound plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

As investigators are trying to determine the reasons behind the crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes in the last half year, USA authorities are conducting a probe into how potentially flawed planes received permission to fly.

Boeing has said it is finalising a software update and pilot training revision related to MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) in 737 Max, following two deadly air crashes in less than five months.

Experts from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the plane's manufacturer Boeing are among those involved in the investigation.

The series of crashes has resulted in an global investigation, and the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max model in the US, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and other countries.

An official from France's BEA air crash investigation agency speaks near the machines used to listen to tapes that are recovered from black boxes.

The relatively new Boeing plane crashed with such a force that it could take up to six months to identify the remains of the victims.

Both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft.

Early data from the black box of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed killing all 157 people on board shows "clear similarities" with a Lion Air crash in October, the Ethiopian Transport Ministry said on Sunday.

The 737 MAX is one of Boeing's most popular planes with more than 4,600 pending orders.

Investigators are reportedly looking into whether an automatic system called MCAS, which is created to prevent the plane's nose from going upwards, was incorrectly triggered.

Several countries and airlines issued moratoriums on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model in the wake of the second incident.

Boeing Co plans to release upgraded software for its 737 MAX in a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam has previously said the pilot of Flight 302 had "flight control problems" shortly before the plane crashed.

"We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again", said a Boeing Company representative.

  • Jon Douglas