Investigators suspect the fatal Boeing 737 airplane crash in China was intentional

May 18, 2022, 1:40 PM

Rescuers work at the site of a plane crash on March 23, 2022 in Tengxian County, Wuzhou City, Guang...

Rescuers work at the site of a plane crash on March 23, 2022 in Tengxian County, Wuzhou City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China. A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800NG aircraft carrying 132 people, including 123 passengers and nine crew members, crashed in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Monday. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

It’s been nearly two months since a Boeing 737 crashed in China, killing all 132 people aboard. And now, the Wall Street Journal reports investigators now believe the crash was not an accident.

They think someone in the cockpit intentionally put the China Eastern Airlines jet into a nosedive and crashed it into the ground.

Aviation analyst John Nance was a longtime commercial airline pilot with extensive experience flying the 737. He agrees with the report. “The airplane did something that simply could not happen without control,” he tells KIRO Newsradio.

Chinese airliner crashes with 132 aboard in country’s south

He says the plane dived, leveled at 7,000 feet, climbed to 8,000 feet, then pointed almost straight down in a vertical direction. The jet hit near-supersonic speeds as it plummeted to the ground.

“That couldn’t be explained by a failure of the airplane’s physiology,” he says. “In other words, there has to be either a series of completely unprecedented failures, or there has to be a human being holding the airplane down into a dive like that.”

Nance says he’s still waiting to hear cockpit audio recordings to understand what happened, and that someone aside from the pilots could be responsible. “You can’t rule out somebody finding a way to break through the door,” he says.

He is quick to point out that cockpit doors have been heavily reinforced in commercial jets since the 9/11 terror attacks, so someone breaking it open is unlikely. “The cockpit voice recorder is probably going to be key to this. Unfortunately, we don’t have cockpit video recorders.”

Another complication to the investigation is the Chinese government’s reluctance to share possibly embarrassing information at times. Nance says China has actively participated in the international aviation community over the past couple of decades, so he’s hopeful accurate answers will be provided. “When the Chinese finally release the information on this,” he says, “it is likely to give us a full view of who said what to whom, and who was in the cockpit.”

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Investigators suspect the fatal Boeing 737 airplane crash in China was intentional