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Reports Suggest China Eastern Nose Dive May Have Been Intentional

Flight data indicates the China Eastern Airlines nose dive on March 21 may have been intentional. The crash killed all 132 people onboard while flight 5735 was flying between Kunming and Guangzhou. Let’s investigate further.

What happened?

On March 21, flight 5735, operated onboard a Boeing 737-800 registration B-1791, was cruising between Kunming Changshui International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport when it suddenly disappeared from the radars. Contact with the aircraft was lost over the city of Wuzhou.

While approaching its top of descent into Guangzhou, the aircraft entered a sudden steep drop from 29,100 feet (8,900 meters), and it crashed in the mountainous regions of Teng County.

Data from a black box suggest someone in the cockpit pushed the plane into the fatal dive, according to people familiar with the US preliminary assessment of the accident and reported first by The Wall Street Journal.

Additionally, Chinese authorities, who are leading the investigation (the US is involved because the aircraft is from Boeing, a US company), have not found any mechanical or flight-control problems with the plane involved.


The aircraft involved was a Boeing 737-89P powered by two CFFM56-7B26E turbofan engines. It first flew on June 5, 2015, and was delivered new to China Eastern Airlines that same month.

Flight data indicates the China Eastern Airlines nose dive on March 21 may have been intentional. Photo: Getty Images.

Looking at the pilot

So far, the US officials involved with the investigation are looking at the actions of a pilot. Nonetheless, there’s also the possibility that someone else on the plane could have entered the cockpit and caused the crash.

If a pilot was involved in the perhaps suicidal dive, it would be a very similar accident to the one from Germanwings Flight 9525 in 2015. That flight was a scheduled international passenger service between Barcelona and Düsseldorf. The aircraft, an Airbus A320-211, crashed in the French Alps; all 144 passengers and all six crew members were killed. The crash was deliberately caused by the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz.


Nonetheless, the accident investigation of the China Eastern flight is still ongoing and could take at least a year before the final documents are released.

Moreover, according to the airline, the pilots had good health, family conditions, and finances.

Discover more aviation news here.

China Eastern also urged not to do any unofficial speculation because it could interfere with the investigation and impact its progress.

Additionally, the Chinese civil aviation agency completed a preliminary report and did not find anything abnormal in the communications between the crew and air traffic controllers.

The Chinese investigation has not found anything abnormal in the communications between the crew and air traffic controllers. Photo: Getty Images.

The first ICAO report

Last month, China sent its initial report on the crash of a China Eastern Boeing 737-800 to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In this report, China stated there were reportedly no obvious procedural issues leading to the accident, meaning that the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder would play a key role in the investigation.

Moreover, on the day of the accident, the weather was fine, the jetliner wasn’t carrying dangerous goods, its maintenance was up to date, and the crew was fully trained.

What do you think of this latest development? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Wall Street Journal.


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