The surfaces, called horizontal stabilizers, were tilting up, which would have caused the plane's nose to drop, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"The soil came as it became impossible to identify bodies and hand over remains to family members", one family member reportedly said, adding: "We will not rest until we are given the real body or body parts of our loved ones".
Ethiopian Minster of Transport Dagmawit Moges said it will likely take five to six months to complete the identification, but DNA samples were already being collected from the relatives of victims to aid in the process.
Papers given to the families at the Skylight Hotel on Saturday said death certificates would be issued within two weeks, and an initial payment made to cover immediate expenses. The victims came from 35 nations.
An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 from San Francisco approaches for landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport over a parked Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, March 13, 2019.
Ethiopian Airlines says their pilots received special training on the software.
The U.S. planemaker has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and pilot displays on its fastest-selling jetliner in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash.
On Saturday, investigators began studying the cockpit voice recorder.
The recorders, also known as black boxes, were sent to France because the BEA has extensive expertise in analyzing such devices. "They didn't expect the Ethiopians to lose their jet while all this was going on", said Alan Diehl, a former investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.
Air Canada announced on Friday that it would suspend its financial guidance for the first quarter and full year of 2019 due to uncertainty caused by the suspension of Max 8 flights and Boeing's recent decision to pause deliveries to airline customers.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday followed other countries in grounding the 737 MAX, citing satellite data and evidence from the scene that indicated some similarities and "the possibility of a shared cause" with October's Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people. Acting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator Daniel Elwell has said he does not know how long the United States grounding will last.
Air traffic controllers were aware of the plane's flight path. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.
The 737 Max has flight-control software that can automatically tilt the stabilizers if sensors detect that the plane is in danger of losing aerodynamic lift from the wings, which is necessary to stay aloft.
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