Sudden human intervention in the plane’s controls appears to have caused a China Eastern flight to plunge almost vertically into the mountains of southern China in March, killing all 132 passengers on board, according to preliminary findings from US authorities investigating the incident. ‘accident.
The findings come in part from information retrieved from the Boeing 737 flight data recorder, known as the “black box,” The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the US investigation.
“The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit,” an individual told the Log.
Chinese officials investigating the crash reported no apparent mechanical or flight issues with the plane. And airline regulators and Boeing themselves are not working on new safety guidelines or warnings related to the crash.
The China Eastern flight was aboard a Boeing Model 737-800, a widely used aircraft with one of the best safety records in commercial aviation.
“This kind of vertical dive, without any radio calls from the flight crew, could clearly indicate human activity for this to occur,” said John Goglia, aviation safety consultant and former member of National Transportation Safety. Board (NTSB), at FlightGlobal in April. “No one can come up with a mechanical failure mode that would cause the plane to behave the way it did.”
Taken together, these findings suggest that one of the plane’s pilots may have caused the nose dive, or that someone broke into the cockpit and did so, although official statements on the investigation pointed out that the investigation is still ongoing.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has yet to determine the ultimate cause of the crash, and China Eastern previously said the pilot flying the plane was in good physical, emotional and financial health.
Chinese officials also said the China Eastern flight sent no distress signals before it crashed and that communications between the ship and air traffic control indicated nothing abnormal before the crash, throwing doubt about a breach in the cockpit.
They have completed an initial accident investigation report, but have not released its full contents.
No survivors were found at the crash site and the plane’s black box was found several meters underground.
The investigation is the latest investigation into the safety of a Boeing plane after a faulty flight control system led to several fatal crashes aboard the Boeing 737 MAX, the successor to the 737-800.