Experts have started to speculate about the causes of a horrifying plane crash that was caught on camera on Monday that showed a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashing vertically into the ground.
Flightradar24 released data from the flight that showed the aircraft was cruising at just over 29,000 feet when it then plunged more than 20,000 feet in under a minute before later slamming into the ground. Rescue crews have not been able to locate any survivors of the more than 130 people that were on board the flight.
“Even with total loss of power, no aircraft plummets to the ground from 20,000 feet in two minutes with an event at 8,000 feet,” Australian aviation expert Neil Hansford told News.com.au. “I think aircraft technical failure can be ruled out and it will be an external event … I would get on a Boeing 737-800 in an instant with an Australian carrier, so my suggestion would be it won’t be Boeing or aircraft technical related.”
“It is very unlikely the pilot passed out as the non-flying pilot would have been able to very safely take over the flying and land the aircraft,” he continued. “Likely scenarios include pilot suicide, aircraft mid-air collision with military aircraft (they don’t have transponders like civil aircraft), [flight MU5735] was struck by a missile or an on-board explosion. My tipping is a human-induced event or bought down by rogue missile. Debris looks like MH117 over Ukraine, and the Chinese are providing too much information this time which is uncharacteristic.”
China Eastern Airlines immediately grounded all of its Boeing 737-800s following the crash and communist dictator Xi Jinping ordered an immediate investigation.
U.K. aviation expert Sally Gethin said that it was “really hard to ascertain at this point in time whether the aircraft was entirely intact when it dropped so suddenly.”
“I would tend to think that there had already been a catastrophic incident on board for it to be able to drop so dramatically in that way,” she said. “But at the same time, it could also be a problem that the pilot was struggling with and finally lost control.”
Gethin stayed away from providing too much speculation about the likely causes of the crash and simply pointed to where the cause of the crash will be determined.
“[It] will be revealed in their communications with the radar control, with their traffic management side, and that will be revealed in the voice recorder,” she said.
“[The plane] was at nearly 30,000 feet – which is cruising altitude – and from the ground that would look like a dot up in the sky,” she said when asked about footage showing the crash. “It fell from that height – nearly 30,000 feet – suddenly perpendicular. It maintained some stability, it paused and then several seconds later it then dropped again suddenly. That footage captures it in that second phase, where it drops completely vertically to the ground.”
A Boeing 737 has crashed in China with 132 people on board.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 21, 2022