Citing multiple unnamed sources, the WSJ reported that the findings are the first to come to light based on data retrieved from Flight 302’s black boxes.
Ethiopian Minister of Transport later reiterated that point, saying preliminary data recovered from the black boxes of the crash in Ethiopia showed similarities to the Lion Air crash.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed the morning of March 10 after taking off from Addis Ababa on its way to Nairobi, Kenya, killing all 157 people on board.
Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia on October 29 after taking off from Jakarta. All 189 people on board died.
The reported findings come from a preliminary report that’s required by the investigating authority to be produced within 30 days of an incident. The findings are not final and subject to change as the investigation continues.
If confirmed, the preliminary findings cited in the Wall Street Journal would suggest that the automated flight software called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which was installed in both planes could be to blame in the two incidents.
The MCAS is a system that automatically lowers the nose of the plane when it receives information from its external angle of attack (AOA) sensors that the aircraft is flying too slowly or steeply, and at risk of stalling.
Investigators have also pointed to whether pilots had sufficient training with the system.
GebreMariam also said the flight simulator that pilots trained on to learn how to fly the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane did not replicate the MCAS automated feature that crash investigators are scrutinizing.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that she found it “very questionable” that safety systems were not part of the standard package offered by Boeing on its 737 Max jets.
A Boeing official said Wednesday that the company had conducted a number of its own “thorough audits” since the Lion Air crash and found “nothing that concerns us.”
CNN’s Gregory Wallace, David Shortell, Haley Byrd, Ralph Ellis, Oren Liebermann, Richard Quest and Masrur Jamaluddin contributed.