US officials believe the deadly China Eastern airline plane crash in March may have been intentional, sources told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
According to sources, the data points to the possibility of an intentional nose dive of the aircraft orchestrated by someone in the cockpit, what resulted in the death of 132 people.
“The information gathered so far in the China Eastern investigation has led US officials involved in the investigation to focus their attention on the actions of one pilot,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
The plane crashed during a flight from Kunming, China, to Guangzhou, and reports say it appeared to launch into a descent at a nearly vertical angle. The disaster claimed the lives of everyone on the plane.
US accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are assisting Chinese authorities in their analysis of the incident, which occurred on a US-made aircraft.
Officials recovered instruments from the Boeing 737-800 to collect data on the commands used during the flight. Sources told the Journal that the entries used in a black box just before the nosedive indicated that the commands for the crash were intentional.
“The plane did what someone in the cockpit told it to do,” a source said.
Also endorsing the US officials’ assessment, this person said that the Chinese authorities, which are leading the investigation, have so far they have not reported any mechanical or flight control problems with the aircraft involved in the accident on March 21 in southern China.
People familiar with US officials’ preliminary assessment also commented that The Boeing aircraft model that was involved in this accident has a stellar safety record when it comes to commercial flights.