nvestigators at the crash site of the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight have found new evidence that points to another connection to the earlier disaster involving the same Boeing jet.
The evidence, a piece of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet that crashed in Ethiopia last weekend killing 157 people, suggests that the plane’s stabilizers were tilted upward, according to two people with knowledge of the recovery operations.
It that angle, the stabilizers would have forced down the nose of the jet, a similarity with the Lion Air crash in October.
Although the crash investigations are still in the early phases, the new evidence potentially indicates that the two planes both had problems with a newly installed automated system on the 737 Max jet intended to prevent a stall.
This evidence ultimately contributed to American regulators’ decision to ground the 737 Max this week, according to the two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it had found physical evidence from the Ethiopian crash that, along with satellite tracking data, suggested similarities between the two crashes.
As the investigations continue, Boeing has also been racing to finish a software update for the 737 Max aircraft, which is expected by April.
Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration have continued to stand by the safety of the plane.
Yet Boeing’s update will modify features of the jet around the automated system that investigators have suggested might have played a role in the Lion Air crash.
The new evidence found at the crash site in Ethiopia, a piece of equipment known as a jackscrew, controls the angle of the horizontal stabilizers.
The stabilizers can be triggered by the automated system, known as MCAS.