America’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has suggested that the black box data recorders onboard the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 which crashed on March 21 this year killing all 132 passengers and crew on board indicates that the plane crashed as a consequence of deliberate manual input which forced the jet into a catastrophic dive.
The WSJ quotes an unnamed source as saying that “The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit.” The jet had been cruising at an altitude of 20,000 feet when it began a dive which lasted approximately one minute before the plane ploughed into a mountainside near Wuzhou in Guangxi province. While Chinese investigators have been leading the enquiry into the crash, U.S. officials have been heavily involved as the plane was built in the U.S.
Comparisons have been made with events surrounding the crash of a Germanwings Airbus A320 jet in 2015 which was deliberately crashed by one of the pilots as it crossed the French alps, killing all 150 people onboard. In this instance the flight pattern shown on tracking sites together with the lack of a mayday call or loss of data signals were reminiscent of what happened in 2015. According to the WSJ Chinese authorities have not indicated to their U.S. counterparts that there was any mechanical or flight-control problems with the plane and have confirmed that the pilot and co-pilot had both been in good health, with no known financial or family issues. Chinese authorities also stated that no emergency code had been sent from the plane, implying that no intruder could have reached the cockpit. China’s air regulator has not commented beyond saying last month that investigators were continuing their inquiries.