THE doomed Ethiopian Airlines was configured to dive and lurched hundreds of feet up and down when it was in the air, it was reported.
At least nine Britons were among the 157 killed when the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Max 8 plane crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa on its way to Nairobi, Kenya.
The aircraft’s black box recorders have been sent to France in bid to find the cause of the accident as the troubled jet remains grounded.
According to Bloomberg, a device found in the wreckage known as a jackscrew, used to raise and lower the plane’s nose, indicates the jet was configured to dive.
The report was based on a preliminary review, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
The evidence helped persuade US regulators to ground the model, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the inquiry.
The jackscrew, combined with a newly obtained satellite flight track of the plane, convinced the FAA that there were similarities to the October 29 crash of the same Max model off the coast of Indonesia, said Bloomberg.
Federal Aviation Administration chief Daniel Elwell cited unspecified evidence found at the crash scene as part of the justification for the agency to reverse course and temporarily ground it.
TROUBLED JET GROUNDED
The captain of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, Yared Getachew, asked to return to base on Sunday shortly after take off.
The New York Times reported that doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to Nairobi was in trouble almost immediately after take-off as it lurched up and down by hundreds of feet at a time.
The captain asked in a panicky voice to turn back only three minutes into the flight as the plane abnormally accelerated, said a person who reviewed the jet’s air traffic communications.
“Break break, request back to home,” he told air traffic controllers as they scrambled to divert two other flights approaching the airport.
The aircraft had accelerated far beyond what is considered standard practice.
All contact between air controllers and the aircraft was lost five minutes after it took off, the report said.
The airline's CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam, has detailed the message broadcast from the cockpit.
He told CNN: "According to the air traffic controller's recorded voice exchange, the pilot recorded flight control problems, so he was having difficulties with the flight control of the aeroplane.
"He asked to return back to base, and clearance was given to him.
"That was at 8.44am, at the same time the aeroplane disappeared from the radar."
It is not yet clear what the problems were which the crew were reporting.
Mr GebreMariam underscored that all employees had been given new training following last year's Lion Air disaster in which another Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed in Indonesia.
He added: "The fact that many other countries are also now raising cautions on the aeroplane shows there is very significant similarities [between] the two accidents.
"There are a lot of questions to be answered on the aeroplane."
He was having difficulties with the flight control of the aeroplane.
The black box from the passenger plane, which records flight data, will be now be sent to Paris for investigation into what happened.
The dead included include a UN animal campaigner, a polar tourism expert, an aid worker, a dad-of-three from Hull and a mother and son.
A number of countries have grounded the jet over safety fears following the Sunday morning crash.
The flight came down six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa carrying 149 passengers from 35 countries and eight crew members.
Mr GerbreMariam said the pilot, who had an "excellent flying record".
Senior captain Yared Getachew had a "commendable performance" having completed more than 8,000 hours in the air, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said.
The plane had flown from Johannesburg to Addis earlier on Sunday morning.
It was delivered new to the airline about four months ago, and underwent "rigorous" testing on February 4.
Where were the victims from?
The Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed today was carrying passengers from more than 30 countries, the airline's CEO told journalists.
He said they included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese citizens, eight Americans, seven British citizens, seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Dutch citizens, four Indians, four people from Slovakia, three Austrians, three Swedes, three Russians, two Moroccans, two Spaniards, two Poles and two Israelis.
Belgium, Ireland Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen each had one citizen onboard.
Four of those onboard were listed as using United Nations passports and their nationalities were not immediately clear.
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