Analysis of the data from the black boxes of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed killing all 157 people on board showed ‘clear similarities’ with October’s Lion Air crash, a spokesman for the Ethiopian Transport Ministry said.
Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 had an unusually high speed after take-off. The plane reported problems and asked permission to climb quickly, as per a source who has listened to the air traffic control recording.
A voice from the cockpit of the Boeing 737 MAX requested to climb to 14,000 feet above sea level – about 6,400 feet above the airport – before urgently asking to return.
The plane vanished from radar at 10,800 feet.
Experts explain that it is normal of pilots to ask to climb when experiencing problems near the ground in order to gain space for manoeuvre and to avoid any difficult terrain. Addis Ababa is surrounded by hills and, immediately to the north, the Entoto Mountains.
Both planes were Boeing 737 MAX 8s, and both crashed minutes after take off after pilots reported flight control problems. Concern over the plane’s safety caused aviation authorities worldwide to ground the model, wiping billions of dollars off Boeing’s market value.
“It was the same case with the Indonesian (Lion Air) one. There were clear similarities between the two crashes so far,” spokesman Muse Yiheyis told Reuters.
“The data was successfully recovered. Both the American team and our (Ethiopian) team validated it. The minister thanked the French government. We will let you know more after three or four days.”
A preliminary report on the crash is to be released within 30 days, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the transport minister.