China Eastern plane crash that killed 132 may have been deliberate: WSJ

Markus Mainka /

Data recovered from the black box of China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) flight MU5735 indicates that someone in the flight deck intentionally crashed the jet, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Citing people familiar with US officials’ preliminary assessment of the incident, the Wall Street Journal reports that initial findings suggest that the aircraft was  deliberately put into a fatal nosedive.

The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 jetliner was flying to Guangzhou from Kunming on March 21, 2022, when it suddenly dropped from its cruising altitude of 29,000 feet and impacted terrain, killing all 132 passengers and crew. 

US officials involved in the investigation have focused on the actions of a pilot, though they are not discounting the possibility of someone else breaking into the flight deck and causing the crash, the WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

“The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit,” a person who is familiar with US officials’ preliminary assessment told the WSJ. The assessment included an analysis of information extracted from the aircraft’s damaged flight-data recorder.

If these initial reports are correct, it suggests that the crash was not caused by a mechanical problem with the Boeing-made aircraft. Boeing shares closed up 6.5% on May 17, 2022 after the WSJ report came out.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have not immediately responded to media queries and have not yet released official statements regarding the findings.

The WSJ said the Civil Aviation Administration of China had not responded to its requests for comment. China Eastern repeated a statement made in March that the pilots were in good health and financial status and referred to a previous statement made in April by the Chinese government regarding the status of the investigation. 


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