Flight MU5735 crash: Bereaved relative demands answers from airline over US report of deliberate dive

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A relative of a passenger who died on China Eastern Airlines flight 5735 on March 21 has demanded an explanation from the carrier if it is proved that black box data suggested that the plane was intentionally sent on a nosedive.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the flight controls of the Boeing 737-800 had pushed the plane into a dive, citing people familiar with US officials’ early assessment of the cause of the crash.

All 123 passengers and nine crew died in the flight from Kunming to Guangzhou in southern China after the plane dived from a cruising altitude of 8,900 metres (29,199 feet) and disintegrated after ramming into a hill, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) summary of the preliminary investigation report released 30 days after the crash.

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The aviation disaster, the deadliest in China since 1994, shocked the country, which has one of the safest flying records. In February, the CAAC had achieved more than 100 million straight hours of safe flying by Chinese carriers – a world record.

Investigators at the US National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) have helped the CAAC, which is leading the investigation, to download information from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder at its lab in Washington.

“If [the report] is true, it’s so terrible,” said a man surnamed Ouyang, the uncle of an 18-year-old university student from Guangzhou who died in the flight. He spoke on the politically sensitive crash without providing a full name. – The Star