A drama that would not be an accident?
Data recovered from the deadly crash of a Boeing 737-800 in China indicates that a person in the cockpit deliberately caused the disaster, the Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday, citing people familiar with a preliminary assessment.
The China Eastern company plane, connecting the cities of Kunming (southwest) and Guangzhou (south), crashed into a mountainside on March 21 in Guangxi province (south) after an unexplained fall from several thousand meters in just a few minutes.
Information from a black box found after the crash suggests someone activated the controls that caused the descent, according to the business daily, citing people briefed on a preliminary assessment by US officials.
Investigation still ongoing
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is officially in charge of the investigation.
In a statement at the end of April, she said she had prepared a preliminary report without providing details on what could have caused the accident, which killed 132 people.
As required by international aviation rules, representatives from the US Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are providing technical assistance.
China: After falling 9,000 meters, a plane crashes with 132 people on board
Contacted by AFP on Tuesday, the American agency indicated that it did not want to comment on an investigation led by another authority.
Boeing, also citing rules that only the authority in charge of an ongoing investigation can communicate on its progress, also declined to comment.
Limited communication around the drama
In its press release at the end of April, the CAAC assured that the qualifications of the crew and the maintenance personnel of the aircraft were "in good standing" as well as the certificate of airworthiness of the aircraft.
The company China Eastern had previously said that the pilot and the two co-pilots were not the subject of any suspicion.
In general, the Chinese authorities have imposed strict control of information around the disaster.
"The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit," assured one of the sources of the Wall Street Journal before pointing out that the Chinese authorities had not so far alerted on any mechanical or flight control problems with the aircraft.
According to the daily, the American authorities are instead turning their attention to the actions of a pilot, with also the possibility that a third person entered the cockpit.