The China Eastern Airlines plane crash that occurred in March and resulted in the death of nine crew members and 123 passengers may have been deliberate, according to a new report.
Passengers flying on a Boeing 737-800 during flight MU5735 were en route from Kunming, Yunnan Province, to Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on March 21. Their plane suddenly dropped from a cruising altitude of around 29,200 feet and crashed into a mountain in southern China shortly after 2:20 p.m.
A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report states that data from a black box discovered at the crash site indicates that someone in the cockpit intentionally plunged the aircraft. The report also cited people familiar with a preliminary assessment by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
“The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit,” one of them said about the near-vertical nosedive. However, it remains to be seen whether the alleged action was committed by a pilot or a passenger.
Final seconds of #MU5735 pic.twitter.com/gCoMX1iMDL
— ChinaAviationReview (@ChinaAvReview) March 21, 2022
Early rumors of a deliberate crash were reportedly dispelled by Chinese censors. On April 11, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said that such speculations had “gravely misled the public” and “interfered with the accident investigation work.”
So far, Chinese authorities have reportedly not found any mechanical or flight control issues. The flight was declared to have passed safety requirements prior to takeoff and did not appear to encounter bad weather.
Meanwhile, China Eastern denied the possibility of an intrusion, claiming that no one on the plane declared an emergency before the crash. The airline also told WSJ that the pilots’ health, family conditions and financial status were of no concern.
Investigation into the incident continues, with a focus on the actions of the crew members on the flight deck, Reuters reported.
Boeing, for its part, has yet to respond to the latest report. However, addressing the incident could relieve the aerospace company of additional scrutiny since it is still facing criticism for previous crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft.
Featured Image via China Aviation Review (left), TODAY (right)