Ethiopian Crash Investigators Say Wreckage Is Strikingly Similar To Lion Air Crash

Investigations are ongoing into the recent fatal plane crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Most recently, it has been revealed that there could be some commonality with a crash just months before involving the same aircraft. Final conclusions have yet to be made about the cause of either accident, but initial observations show some worrying similarities.

Ethiopian Airlines crash debris
Investigations uncovered debris from the Ethiopian Airlines crash wreckage. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines.

Suspicious debris found in the wreckage

As part of the plane crash investigation for the incident which occurred on March 11the, debris is still being recovered from the wreckage, in hopes of finding the cause. Days into the investigation, authorities may have uncovered a piece of evidence that links the Ethiopian Airlines accident to the Lion Air accident last year.

Sifting through the wreckage, investigators have found part of the aircraft stabilizer. This has revealed the specific settings of the plane at the moment of the crash. The stabilizer trim was set in an unusual position for the flight, especially since the aircraft had just taken off. These controls set the function of the aircraft horizontal trim. Based on the stabilizer, the trim may have been set with the nose down. This would have led to a steep downwards dive for the plane.

The most shocking part of this discovery is that the same piece of debris was found amidst the Lion Air debris set to the same position. Are the findings just a coincidence or does it somehow link the two crashes to a similar fault, either in the planes or the pilots?

Ethiopian Airlines aircraft in flight
The recent Ethiopian Airlines crash could be similar to the Lion Air crash. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines.

Plane or pilots?

Authorities are increasingly suspicious that the plane crashes suffered by Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air had a similar root cause.

In both accidents, the Boeing 737 MAX was the aircraft, making it a prime target of blame for the accidents. Searching through the wreckage is a good start for confirming or denying the claim. The stabilizer trim setting gives some indication of what could have happened with the accidents, placing potential fault on a couple of parties.

A nose down position shortly after take-off is highly unusual for any plane. The stabilizer could have altered on its own due to an aircraft malfunction, or the operators could have set it either by accident or intentionally. Debris uncovered at the site revealing the plane’s setting gives Boeing specific areas to focus on when re-evaluating the safety of its aircraft. It also leads to an examination of pilot training for operating Boeing’s latest 737 model.

Ethiopian Airlines aircraft fleet
Concerns over the safety of the Boeing 737 has grounded the aircraft worldwide. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines.

Investigations are ongoing and more evidence is being uncovered to solve the mysterious crashes for the Boeing 737 MAX. Until further notice, all Boeing 737 MAX are grounded worldwide, awaiting design updates to the aircraft.