China Eastern plane crash 'was caused intentionally by someone in the cockpit', says report
Washington, May 18: Flight data from a black box recovered from a Chinese plane crash earlier this year indicates someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the jet, the Wall Street Journal said.
The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 went into a sudden nosedive, appeared to briefly recover, and then slammed into the ground in the mountainous Guangxi area on March 21.
Data recovered from the black box suggest that someone in the cockpit input controls that sent the plane into its deadly descent, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with US officials' preliminary assessment of the incident.
'The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit,' the source told the US newspaper.
While en route from Kunming to Guangzhou the Boeing 737-800 crashed killing 123 passengers and nine crew members - with total deaths at 132 - in mainland China's deadliest aviation disaster in 28 years.
The data published by FlightRadar24 suggests the plane was at an altitude of 29,100 feet when it went into a high-speed dive at 2:20.43pm, losing altitude at a maximum rate of about 31,000 feet per minute (560km/hr), the report said.
Twenty seconds into the dive, the rate of descent slowed, and over the next 45 seconds the dive was further arrested until the plane levelled off 7,425 feet above the ground. It then began climbing.
But respite from the unfolding disaster was apparently brief. About 15 seconds later, at 8,600 feet, the plane went into a second dive, the Post reported.
About 30 seconds later the plane slammed into the ground, in a wooded area of Teng county, near Wuzhou city. The final piece of data from the plane's computers was sent at 2:22.35pm at an altitude of 3,225 feet, the report said.
In a blog post, Sweden-based FlightRadar24 said its data came directly from the aircraft's computers and sensors.
Video footage widely circulated on Chinese social media appeared to show the plane in a near-vertical dive.
Also the China Eastern jet, which is six years old, met industry safety standards prior to take-off.
The weather was normal and there were no hazardous weather conditions when the plane with 132 people aboard crashed in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, an official told a news briefing on Wednesday
The ill-fated Boeing 737 aircraft was delivered to China Eastern Airlines on June 22, 2015. Before its take-off on Monday, it met maintenance release standards and airworthiness requirements, Sun Shiying, chairman of the Yunnan branch of China Eastern Airlines, told reporters