Ethiopia minister: Clear similarity between two crashes

Relatives have wept over empty caskets at a mass funeral for the Ethiopian Airlines crash victims. Net

USA prosecutors are looking into the development of Boeing's 737 Max jets, a person briefed on the matter revealed Monday, the same day French aviation investigators concluded there were "clear similarities" in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 last week and a Lion Air jet in October.

Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges told journalists that a preliminary report would be released within 30 days.

"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.

The Ethiopian crash prompted dozens of countries and airlines to ground 737 MAX planes pending a detailed analysis of the safety features.

Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges on Sunday evening revealed findings of the analysis of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 black box.

Both planes experienced similarly erratic steep climbs and descents, and fluctuating airspeeds before crashing shortly after take-off.

Two separate crashes, one in October 2018 and another in March, involved Boeing's Max model.

Boeing is facing scrutiny over the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a software program that was created to help its new planes avoid stalling in mid-air.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

At the same time, the Department of Transportation has ordered two regional Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offices to secure computer files related to the certification process of the plane.

Many relatives already have gathered at the rural, dusty crash site outside Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

Family members confirmed they were given a 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) sack of scorched earth taken from the crash site.

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement Sunday the company continues to support the Ethiopian investigation, "and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available".

All Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircrafts have been grounded worldwide as investigators work to determine what caused the plane to crash.

- Graphs of the two sets of data are "very, very similar", the person said on Monday. "He was the pillar for his whole family".

MCAS was introduced by Boeing on the 737 Max 8 because its heavier, more fuel-efficient engines changed the aerodynamic qualities of the workhorse aircraft and can cause the plane's nose to pitch up in certain conditions during manual flight.

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