The crash of a China Eastern Airlines plane in March is said to have been no accident. Someone in the cockpit is said to have caused the Boeing 737-800 to crash, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing the flight recorder. Chinese authorities remain silent.
According to circles, the flight data of the Boeing 737-800 of China Eastern Airlines that crashed at the end of March indicate that the crash was caused intentionally. Data from a black box recovered after the crash indicated inputs to the controls had propelled the plane into the fatal dive, people familiar with US authorities' preliminary assessment of the causes of the accident said. The Boeing 737-800 was at high altitude when it suddenly went into an almost vertical descent and crashed into a mountain at extreme speed. All 132 passengers died.
"The plane did as it was told by someone in the cockpit," said a source. Chinese authorities leading the investigation have so far found no mechanical or flight control problems on the plane that crashed in southern China on March 21. Information gathered so far as part of the China Eastern investigation has prompted US officials involved in the investigation to turn their attention to a pilot's actions, according to people familiar with the matter. There is also the possibility that someone else on the plane entered the cockpit and intentionally caused the crash, the sources said.
Neither Boeing nor flight safety authorities have yet developed service bulletins or safety guidelines related to the crash, people familiar with the matter said. Such notices are used when authorities deemed it necessary to alert airlines and pilots to problems encountered in the accident, or to indicate the need for repairs to the aircraft.
A person familiar with the US officials' preliminary assessment said the Americans did not have all the information available to their Chinese counterparts. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, China Eastern said it had not found any evidence that could indicate whether or not there were any problems with the crashed plane. The airline reiterated its chief official's statement in March that the pilots were in good health and the family situation was right. The pilots would not have had any financial problems either.
The airline said it was not responsible for the accident investigation, citing official statements including the summary of the Chinese government's preliminary report released on April 20. It states that data recovery and analysis of the damaged flight recorders is still ongoing. "Any unofficial speculation could affect the investigation into the accident and affect the real progress of the global aviation industry," the airline said.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China, which is responsible for air safety in China, did not respond to faxed requests for comment or take calls.