A spokesperson for the Transport Ministry of Ethiopia said that the analysis of the data that were gathered from the black boxes of the plane of Ethiopian Airlines that crashed killing all of the 157 people on board revealed ‘clear similarities’ with the Lion Air crash last October.
Both of the planes were Boeing 737 MAX 8s, and both crashed minutes after takeoff after the pilots reported problems with flight control. Concerns over the safety of the plane caused aviation authorities across the globe to ground the said model, wiping billions of dollars off the market value of Boeing.
In an interview with Reuters, Muse Yiheyis, the Ethiopian Transport Ministry spokesperson, stated: “It was the same case with the Indonesian (Lion Air) one. There were clear similarities between the two crashes so far.”
He added: “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.”
Citing the transport minister, the Wall Street Journal reported that a preliminary report on the plane crash is scheduled to be released within 30 days.
Suspicions surfaced that faulty software and sensors may have contributed to the two crashes which occurred in less than six months.
Earlier in the day, the relatives of the victims of last week’s crash all gathered beside empty coffins at a mass funeral that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Friends, family, and other mourners, some even holding up photographs of loved ones who died in the plane crash, all joined a funeral procession as the caskets were carried to the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Priests swung incense over the caskets, which were wrapped in flags and adorned with photos of the deceased.
Some relatives said that that they were given small sacks of scorched earth from the crash site in place of remains, which are expected to take months to identify, before the funeral. Some relatives, including Muslim families, expressed their frustration that they could not yet bury their dead, as dictated by their religious beliefs.