Was the March crash of China jet deliberate? Details here
Was the March crash of a China Eastern Airlines plane that killed 123 passengers and nine crew members deliberate? Well, the recent report by The Wall Street Journal does suggest so. As per the preliminary assessment by US officials, flight data from a black box recovered from the Boeing 737-800 plane shows that someone in the cockpit purposefully crashed it, the report said.
Why does this story matter?
China Eastern Airlines is the world's sixth-largest airline as per scheduled seat capacity per week, and the largest in China, according to aviation data supplier OAG. The Boeing 737-800 has a solid safety record and is the forerunner to the 737 MAX, which has been banned in China for more than three years following tragic incidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018.
What does 'The Wall Street Journal' report say?
Quoting investigators TheWall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the black box suggested the jet was deliberately wrecked. However, the officials were yet to verify it officially. They had claimed that the pilot did not reply to the instructions from air traffic controllers and pilots of adjacent planes when it was continuously going down.
What do we know about the incident?
In March, a Boeing 737-800 airplane traveling from Kunming to Guangzhou had crashed in the Guangxi highlands. The catastrophe killed all 123 passengers and crew members on board and is regarded as the deadliest airplane disaster in mainland China in 28 years. In a report of their preliminary accident assessment issued last month, Chinese regulators made no technical recommendations.
How did western officials respond?
The western officials anonymously told Reuters that the focus of the investigation is now on the crew's behavior as the early inquiry found no technical issue. Meanwhile, Boeing Co, the plane's manufacturer, declined to comment, referring inquiries to Chinese officials. The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is assisting in the investigation, did not respond either.
How did Chinese officials react?
Following speculation, Chinese civil aviation declared last month that the rumors misled people and were an attempt to sabotage the investigation. At the same time, China Airlines remained silent on the new report. Boeing and the US authorities involved in the investigation have also made no public statements on the topic. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government has prohibited and controlled coverage of the plane disaster.