Pilots aboard the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed last month, killing all 157 people aboard, followed emergency procedures specified by the maker of the doomed Boeing 737 Max, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Journal, citing people briefed on the probe’s preliminary findings, said the pilots turned off the automatic control system that appeared to be pushing down the nose of the plane moments before the Nairobi-bound flight from Addis Ababa slammed into a field March 10.
When that procedure failed to right the aircraft, the pilots turned the system back on and tried other measures in a desperate attempt to control the plane, the Journal says.
USA TODAY has not been able to confirm the Wall Street Journal’s reporting.
The information is based on data from the black boxes recovered from the wreckage. The Ethiopian government has said they could issue a preliminary report on the crash this week.
The flight control system, new to the 737 Max planes, was designed to keep them from stalling. The system has drawn scrutiny since the tragedy, which came five months after Lion Air’s Boeing 737 Max crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. All 189 people aboard were killed.
Investigators said they found similarities in the Boeing disasters. Both flights crashed after drastic speed fluctuations during ascent. Both pilots made ill-fated efforts to return to their airport of origin after takeoff.
Records show that federal aviation authorities received at least 11 reports concerning perceived safety problems with the 737 Max aircraft before the crashes.
The 371 Boeing 737 Max jets flown around the world have been grounded pending further investigation. Also hanging in the balance are orders for more than 4,500 of the hot-selling planes. Boeing said it “paused” deliveries of the 737 Max although production continues.
The FAA expects to receive the final package for Boeing’s software improvements on the 737 Max aircraft in “coming weeks,” the agency said Monday – but will not approve the fixes for installation until a “rigorous” review.