The Boeing 737-800 crash has resurfaced in recent days. The first elements of the file show a possible voluntary act on the part of a human. A technical failure seems ruled out.
On March 21, a Boeing 737-800 BA.N abruptly stalled from its cruising altitude and crashed into the mountains of southern China while on a flight between the cities of Kunming and Guangzhou, killing the 132 people on board including nine crew members.
A voluntary act
According to Chinese authorities, the pilots did not respond to repeated calls from air traffic controllers and nearby planes during the stall. The crash investigation is looking into the actions of the crew in the plane’s cockpit as no evidence of a technical malfunction has been found so far, two sources familiar with the matter said. .
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the initial elements of the US authorities’ investigation, that flight data from one of the black boxes indicated that someone in the cockpit deliberately caused the crash. of the device. A source told Reuters that investigators are investigating whether the crash was a “intentional” act involving crew members.
China refuses to communicate
It is unclear whether investigators were able to extract information from the cockpit voice recorder, damaged in the crash. Boeing and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), declining to comment, referred requests for questions to Chinese regulators. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), in charge of the investigation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Screenshots of the Wall Street Journal article appear to have been censored from Chinese social networks Wechat and Weibo on Wednesday. The CAAC said last month that speculation about the origin of the drama was “seriously misleading the public” and “interfering with investigative work”.
Excellent safety results
The Boeing 737-800 is the predecessor of the 737 MAX, a model grounded for more than three years in China following two fatal crashes in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019. China Eastern, which grounded its entire fleet of 737-800s after the crash resumed aircraft flights in mid-April.
After an unpublished preliminary report into the crash, Chinese investigators last month made no technical recommendations for the 737-800, which has an excellent safety record, experts said. In an interview with Reuters a week ago, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said her investigators and Boeing had traveled to China to assist Chinese teams, which had not identified a safety issue requiring urgent action.
According to the Chinese authorities, writing a definitive report on the causes of the accident could take at least two years.
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