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CRASH: China Eastern Airlines B737-8 nose dives, killing 132 passengers and 9 crew

CRASH: China Eastern Airlines B737-8 nose dives, killing 132 passengers and 9 crew

Flight MU5735 heading between Kunming and Guangzhou suddenly plunged from an altitude of 29,000 feet about 161 kilometres (100 miles) from its destination. The aircraft plunged 26,000 feet in 1.5 minutes, then appeared to briefly halt its ‘fall’ and climb for about 10 seconds. Very unusual behaviour.

Commentators say this is odd behaviour, and not consistent with an aircraft breaking up in mid-air – say from an onboard bomb or terrorist attack. Obviously, all this data, mainly observed from Flightradar24 is extremely preliminary.

One view speculates that it is more consistent with a deliberate act by a pilot, similar to the Silk Air 737-800 jet that dived into an Indonesian river, killing all 104 passengers and crew back on 19 December 1997.

The plane’s behaviour is particularly noteworthy, because the 737-800 aircraft similar to other jetliners, is designed to inhibit dives at steep angles. To cause such a plunge requires a sustained effort by the pilot, which tends to indicate a deliberate act. Please note that this is all speculation until more is known, and flight recorders are recovered.

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Whatever the cause, the result is tragic for the passengers, crew and their colleagues and families. Such accidents have a chilling effect on the whole airline and travel industry, indicated by today’s 10% fall in the share price of China Eastern Airlines.

My thoughts are with the partners, friends and families of all affected by this terrible event.

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