Investigators looking into Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash, in which 157 people died, have found a piece of a stabiliser in the wreckage with the trim set in an unusual position similar to that of a Lion Air plane that crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia in October, Reuters reported, quoting two sources familiar with the matter.
The trim position of the stabiliser, which moves the aeroplane’s horizontal tail, may help investigators figure out if it was set nose down for a steep dive.
Both the planes were Boeing 737 Max jets. The United States Federal Aviation Administration and other global regulators, including India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, have grounded the fleet after the crash in Ethiopia. On Wednesday, the US regulator said that fresh information from the wreckage in Ethiopia and data about its flight path indicated some similarities with the Lion Air crash.
On Thursday, The New York Times reported that the captain of the Ethiopian jet faced an emergency almost immediately after taking off from Addis Ababa. He requested permission to return after three minutes as the aircraft accelerated to abnormal speed. The plane was oscillating up and down by hundreds of feet, air traffic controllers said. All contact between air controllers and the aircraft, which was flying to Nairobi, was lost five minutes after it took off.