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Ethiopia minister: ‘Clear similarity’ between crash, Indonesian accident – The Times of Israel

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Preliminary information retrieved from the flight data recorder of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed last week shows “a clear similarity” with an earlier accident in Indonesia, Ethiopia’s transport minister said Sunday.

Dagmawit Moges told reporters that the Ethiopian government intends to release detailed findings within one month.

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“The black box has been found in a good condition that enabled us to extract almost all the data inside,” she told reporters Sunday evening.

Officials say 157 people from 35 different countries were killed when the Nairobi-bound plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

The United States and many other countries have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner. US-based Boeing now faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly, amid suspicions that faulty sensors and software contributed to the two crashes that killed 346 people.

The US Federal Aviation Administration already has said satellite-based tracking data showed that the movements of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.

The planes in both crashes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to their respective airports, but crashed.

Earlier Sunday, thousands in Addis Ababa mourned the country’s victims in the crash, accompanying 17 empty caskets draped in the national flag through the streets of the capital. Some relatives of victims fainted and fell to the ground.

The service was held a day after officials began delivering bags of earth to family members instead of the remains of their loved ones because the identification process is expected to take such a long time.

Family members confirmed they were given a 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) sack of scorched earth taken from the crash site. Many relatives already have gathered at the rural, dusty crash site.

Elias Bilew said he had worked with one of the victims, Sintayehu Shafi, for the past eight years.

“He was such a good person,” Bilew said. “He doesn’t deserve this. He was the pillar for his whole family.”

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