The China Eastern Airlines Corp. passenger plane suddenly nosedived from 29,000 feet and crashed after flying a normal route to Guangzhou and had been cruising at altitude.
The search for survivors has yielded none.
State broadcaster CCTV said on Tuesday morning, March 22, more than 18 hours after the crash: “Wreckage of the plane was found at the scene, but up until now, none of those aboard the plane with whom contact was lost have been found.”
This much has been made known by Associated Press and Bloomberg, which reported that what happened to the plane has baffled experts.
Here is the aftermath of #MU5735 #crash of the #b737-800. The size of the impact is consistent with the last ADS-B data the aircraft sent – the aircraft was in a straight nosedive. We will have to wait for FDR/CVR data to know what caused the accident.pic.twitter.com/MaJoIao8B9
— The 737 Handbook (@737handbook) March 21, 2022
The unusual crash presumably killed all 132 people aboard on Monday, March 21 in China’s worst aviation accident in more than a decade.
It was also reported that few, if any, previous crashes resembled what happened to the Boeing Co. 737-800 as it pointed steeply towards the ground, according to veteran crash investigators and previous accident reports.
An aviation safety consultant and former 737 pilot even told Bloomberg: “It’s hard to get the airplane to do this.”
Flight MU5735 was roughly 161km from its destination when it started plunging at a far greater rate than normal.
At that point, the pilots should have began descending gradually to land.
The plane fell at more than 30,000 feet per minute within seconds, according to tracking data logged by Flightradar24.
Overall, it plunged almost 26,000 feet in the span of roughly 1 minute, 35 seconds.
Most unusual behaviour of plane
What was even stranger subsequently occurred after the plane had fallen substantially.
The plane’s dive appeared to have halted for about 10 seconds and it climbed briefly, which was highly unusual.
The Flightradar24 track, which is based on radio transmissions from the plane, then showed it resuming a steep plunge.
The straight plunge and the fact that its transponders were still broadcasting suggests that the plane did not break up in flight, as has been seen in some terrorist bombings.
Surveillance footage showed plunge
A surveillance video appearing to capture the plane in its final moments showed it in a steep dive towards the ground.
The video was shot by a mining company near where the jet made impact on the ground, but its authenticity could not be independently verified, even though Chinese media outlet The Paper said it had verified the footage.
The last seconds of China Eastern Airlines MU5735 were caught on a CCTV camera. Shows that it was in a near vertical dive. pic.twitter.com/0ZaBcJqLR7
— Oliver Alexander (@OAlexanderDK) March 21, 2022
Investigators are now tasked with looking at other factors, such as the weather the plane encountered, whether the pilots made any distress calls, any hints in the wreckage of possible malfunctions, as well as detailed profiles of the crew.
This will help determine why the jet made such an abrupt and severe dive.
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