China plane crash: latest Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 news, 2022 incident explained, victims - black box data

Inputs to the controls pushed the plane into a near-vertical dive, according to data from the jet's black box flight recorders

The Chinese plane crash that killed all onboard may have been caused intentionally, US media reports suggest.

In March, a Boeing 737-800 jet carrying 132 people came down in China’s mountainous Guangxi province, near the city of Wuzhou.

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Investigators are yet to uncover any mechanical or technical issues with the jet, suggesting that it was deliberately put into a nosedive.

Here is everything you need to know.

What happened?

Flight MU5735 was scheduled to leave the city of Kunming at 1.15pm local time, and was en route to Guangzhou, a journey that usually takes just under two hours to complete.

Flight trackers like FlightRadar24 showed that the plane was in the air for just over an hour.

The China Eastern airliner was travelling at a constant altitude and speed when it dropped more than 20,000 feet in just over a minute.

According to FlightRadar24 data, the last sourced information on the flight showed it ended at 2.22pm local time, at an altitude of 3,225 ft.

Rescue crews were deployed to the area, and local media reported they had found parts of the wreckage and were searching through debris scattered over mountainous, rugged terrain.

This debris included the charred remains of bags, wallets and identity cards, but it was later confirmed that everyone onboard died in the crash.

Among the victims was a group of six people, including a teenager, who were travelling to Guangzhou to attend a funeral, reported local media.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a source familiar with US officials’ first assessment of the cause of the tragedy, said: “the plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit.”

According to the report, data from one of the jet’s black box flight recorders retrieved from the crash site indicates that inputs to the controls sent the plane into a near-vertical dive.

Authorities in China reported soon after the incident that the flight had issued no emergency code, implying that no intruder had entered the cockpit.

The flight pattern shown on tracking sites, as well as the lack of a reported mayday call or any loss of data signal, draws comparison to the Germanwings tragedy of 2015, in which a pilot deliberately crashed an Airbus A320 passenger plane into the French Alps, killing 150 people.

The three pilots on board, according to China Eastern Airlines, were qualified and in good health, and the airline told the Wall Street Journal that none of them appeared to be in financial jeopardy.

According to Chinese state media outlet the Global Times, investigators are still analysing flight data and the wreckage from the crash.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft was launched in 1994, with Hapag-Lloyd Flug (now TUI fly Deutschland) receiving the first for commercial use in 1998.

It is the most widely used narrowbody aircraft.

(Image: NationalWorld)

Where is Guangxi province?

Guangxi province is located in South China and borders Vietnam.

The mountainous terrain in the far south of China contains the largest population of China's ethnic minorities, in particular the Zhuang people, who make up 32% of the population.